Jean Klein, a musicologist and doctor, spent several years in
India where he met his Guru and was initiated into
traditional wisdom. He was eventually sent back to Europe
to teach Advaita Vedanta. This teaching employs a "direct
approach" beyond any mental activity or striving, pointing
straight to the ultimate where all that belongs to the mind,
time, and space is integrated. What is sought is a sudden
insight, a clear awakening to what we are, what we have
been, and what we shall be forever. ISBN Q _ flc13flb _ D]i5 . fl
This, the third book by Jean Klein published in English, is a collection
of talks held in England, France and the United States between 1980
Like all non-objective teaching, these dialogues employ the "direct
approach" pointing beyond mental striving to that timeless awareness
which is our being.
Other Books by Jean Klein
L'Ultime Realite. Paris: Courier de Livre, 1968; 2nd ed. 1972.
Soisce que tu es. Paris: Courier de Livre, 1970; 3rd ed. 1983.
— Chinese translation. Saigon, 1979.
— Italian translation. Torino: Ed Savriti, 1979.
La Joie sans Objet. Paris: Mercur de France (Gallimard), 1972; 2nd ed.
— Spanish translation. Madrid: Lois Carams, 1979.
— Italian translation. Torino: Ed Savriti, 1979.
Be Who You Are. London: Watkins, 1978
Neither This Nor That I Am. London: Watkins, 1980.
The Ease of Being
The Acorn Press
Durham, North Carolina
Copyright © 1984 Jean Klein
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form
or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without
permission in writing from the publisher. For information address: The
Acorn Press, P. O. Box 3279, Durham, NC 27715-3279.
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 84-174997
First published 1984.
Second edition, revised ana enlarged, 1986, reprinted 1989,1998.
Printed in the United States of America.
I am happy to thank Emma Edwards for revising and editing talks for
Meeting My Master
Every time I meet you I'm astonished by your happiness. Does this
happiness come from outer circumstances?
It depends on nothing outside. It shines on its own.
Can you take me there?
What inspired you to go to India?
An inner need, an urge to find peace, to find the center where you are
simply yourself-free from all stimulation. All that I'd read about tradi¬
tional India, especially ancient India, led me to feel that present-day In¬
dia might still reflect the ancient wisdom, that it might be a society cen¬
tered in truth. Of course it's dangerous to think you can adopt another
culture, but my going to India was not in search of a new belief, religion
or culture. I was aware that I would not find what I was looking for by
assuming a new way of living or point of view. From the beginning I
was convinced that there is a core of being which is independent of all
society, and I felt the urge to explore this conviction.
So you were not especially looking for a teacher?
No. I was not looking for anything specific but, arriving in India, in a
completely new environment, I was left with no reference to anything
in my previous experience. In this suspension of evaluation I was cata¬
pulted into an openness, a receptivity to everything. And I was aston¬
ished to meet so soon the man who later became my teacher. You can't
look for a teacher. The teacher finds you in your awareness.
This inner need, the eagerness for freedom—must it be very strong?
The urge to freedom must be tremendous. But it cannot be learned
or acquired. It comes through self-inquiry. In self-inquiry there ap¬
pears a fore-feeling, an intimation of reality, and it is this fore-feeling
which brings up a tremendous ardour. It can make you sleepless!
When you inquire, you may first feel a lack. You may not know what
kind of lack it is and you will go in many directions in the hope of fill¬
ing it. As each direction is attained there may be a moment when
there's no longer a lack and the desire it brings. For a moment you are
in peace. But because you are not aware of this desirelessness, you fix-
ate on the object, the so-called cause of your satisfaction, and of course
eventually it loses its charm and once again you are hungry. You will
travel down many of these dead-ends, like a hunting dog who cannot
find the scent and runs around frantically. But these cul-de-sacs of ex¬
perience bring you to a kind of maturity, because inevitably you will
question more deeply all the happenings and their transience. It's a
process of elimination. You must inquire, inquire like a scientist, into
your life. Take note that whenever you attain what you want you are
in desirelessness itself where the initial object, the supposed cause of
your desirelessness, is not present. See that this desirelessness is really
causeless and it is you who are attributing causes to it.
At a certain point of maturity you will suddenly be attracted by the
scent of reality and your running around in all directions, your disper¬
sion, will cease. Spontaneously, you will be oriented. Your whole per¬
spective will change. The scent lures you and gives you a fore-taste of
reality, the fore-feeling, and this brings up the tremendous urge we
Would you speak more about this fore-feeling? Exactly what is it?
The fore-feeling comes from what is fore-felt. It is the reflection of
truth. It is the spontaneous orientation when dispersion becomes one-
pointed. The ego becomes more transparent and in this transparency
the energy that was fixed by the ego in objects of dispersion is transfer¬
red to orientation. When the fore-feeling is there, give your whole
heart to it. You must be very alert, very watchful, because the forget¬
ting, which is our conditioning, is very strong.
Did suffering play any part in propelling you into the path?
It depends how you understand suffering. Suffering as an idea, a
concept, can never bring you to the knowing of yourself. But the direct
perception of suffering is, like all objects, a pointer to your Self. What
was important for me were those moments when I faced myself and
found a lack of fulfillment; this produced the dynamism to explore
more deeply. In a certain way when you really feel this lack without
conceptualizing it, it is great suffering - but it is not the kind of suffer¬
ing caused by a robbery, losing a job, a broken marriage, death, and so
on. Of course these difficulties lift you out of a kind of complacency, a
habitual way of living. They wake you up to interrogate, to inquire, to
explore, to question suffering itself.
Make suffering an object. In complete surrender to the perception,
light comes up. You must understand that by surrender I don't mean a
fatalistic acceptance or a kind of psychological sacrifice. Real surrender
is letting go of all ideas and allowing the perception, in this case suffer¬
ing, to come to you in your openness. You will see that it does not "go
away," as is the case with psychological acceptance - where the
energy fixed as suffering is merely shifted to another area-but it
comes to blossom within your full attention. You will feel it as free
energy, energy that was previously crystallized. Thus surrender is not
a passive state. It is both passive and active, passive in the sense of let¬
ting go as with Meister Eckhart's "Poor Man," and active in that it is a
Did you practice yoga to come to deeper levels of surrender and alertness?
The word practice generally means habit. We must use it only in the
sense of becoming more and more aware of body and mind. We must
see that the body is a field of fear, anxiety, defense and aggression.
However, the emphasis must not be on the body but on presence, on
listening. What is important is to become acquainted with the field of
tensions and see that the constantly interfering I-image is not separate
from this field but belongs to it. When this is clear, tension finds no ac¬
complice, the perception is freed, and energy integrates in its totality.
The traditional approach is through listening to the body, not master¬
ing it. Dominating the body is violence. But one can sweep the floor or
wash the dishes and be in listening. It makes no difference.
Exploring the body brought me to deeper layers of relaxation and
this relaxation brought about the cessation of repetitive patterns in the
body and mind. In welcoming the body I became more and more
aware of the feeling of letting go, so in this way the yoga participated
in the fore-feeling of reality. But it only led me to where I no longer em¬
phasized the object, the body, but the ultimate subject. Yoga brings
you to a kind of alertness, a tranquility, and a tranquil body reflects a
tranquil mind. But of course you can come to the peaceful body-mind
If yoga is not in itself the teaching , what is?
The teaching points directly to what is not teachable. The words, the
actions, are a crutch and this support gradually loses its concreteness
until suddenly one day you find yourself in the non-state which can-
not be taught. The formulations are symbols, pointers, and ultimately
you do not see the symbol but that to which it points.
When the teaching lost its concreteness for you and there was this shift in
emphasis from the object-symbol to the subject , that to which the symbol
points , how did your life change?
The old patterns of thinking and acting - of false identification with
the body-having lost their concreteness, no longer had any hold. It
was that reduction from dispersion to orientation we spoke of, a
strengthening of the fore-feeling of truth. It became more and more
present and less conceptual. This being understanding gave a new
direction to my life. Everything was perceived in a new way. I became
more discerning, and although I made no voluntary changes, many
things that had occupied places in my earlier life just dropped away. I
had been lured by names and forms as I strove for having and becom¬
ing, but with the orientation of energy there came a new order of
values. You must not interpret this as adopting a new morality of any
kind. Nothing was added or given up. I just became aware of the
''clearness/' sattvas, and a transformation spontaneously followed
from this awareness.
My Master explained to me that this light, which seemed to come
from outside, was really light reflected by the Self. In my meditations I
was visited by this light and attracted by it and it gave me greater clar¬
ity in action, thinking and feeling. My way of listening became un¬
conditional, free from past and future. This unconditional listening
brought me to a receptive alertness and as I became familiar with this
alertness it became free from all expectation, all volition. I felt an estab¬
lishing in attention, an unfolding in fullness to awareness.
Then a complete change occurred one evening on Marine Drive in
Bombay. I was watching flying birds without thought or interpreta¬
tion, when I was completely taken by them and felt everything hap¬
pening in myself. In this moment I knew myself consciously. The next
morning I knew, in facing the multiplicity of daily life, that being
understanding was established. The self-image had completely dis¬
solved and, freed from the conflict and interference of the I-image,
all happenings belonged to being awareness, the totality. Life flowed
on without the cross-currents of the ego. Psychological memory, like
and dislike, attraction and repulsion, had vanished. The constant pres¬
ence, that we call the Self, was free from repetition, memory, judg¬
ment, comparison and appraisal. The center of my being had been
spontaneously ejected from time and space into timeless stillness. In
this non-state of being, the separation between "you" and "me" van¬
ished completely. Nothing appeared outside. All things belonged in
me but I was no longer in them. There was only oneness.
I knew myself in present happening, not as a concept but as a being
without localization in time and space. In this non-state there was free¬
dom, full and objectless joy. There was pure thankfulness, thanking
without an object. It was not an affective feeling, but a freedom from
all affectivity, a coldness close to warmth. My Master had given me an
understanding of all this, but now it had become a bright and in¬
London April 1980
I've come to hear you for the first time so would you tell me about your
philosophy of life?
Let's begin by first looking at why you have come here today. As you
search for the reason, you may discover a feeling of inner deficiency in
yourself, a kind of hunger which you have come here to try to satisfy.
So before going on let's understand that there is really nothing to at¬
tain. The moment you are completely cor^inced of this, there is a halt.
All energy previously expended towards some end returns to its ori¬
gin, and you are brought back to your presence. At first this may be a
presence to something, because it is in the nature of the eyes to see and
the ears to hear. But when seeing and hearing become free from
motive, end and intention, they no longer belong only to the eyes and
ears. Unqualified attention is multi-dimensional: the whole body
hears, and you may feel, although not in a sensorial way, that hearing
and seeing appear in you, in your global presence. In the end even
hearing and seeing dissolve into this presence and you are one with it.
Ultimately there is no longer a subject who sees nor an object which is
seen. There is only oneness.
This is what I come here to communicate. Identity with this pres¬
ence, this wholeness, this fullness, is meditation, but there is no medi¬
tator nor object upon which to meditate. This, then, does not belong to
a philosopy—it is your real nature.
Doesn't it amount to finding out who we really are?
Yes, but we can never know who we really are as we know other
things because we are the knowing. So we must admit to being knowl¬
edge. Anything else is only a concept.
But we might have a glimpse of it , a glimpse which touches a certainty we
can't afterwards forget . So we strive to come to it again.
1 find it difficult to understand the idea that we "have a glimpse of it," yet
return to our habitual way of living. How could that be It? It seems that it's
still an experience bound by time and concepts.
An experience belongs to somebody, to an "I." It is understood in
reference to the past, to memory, to what we already know. It still has
a subject, an experiencer, and an object, something experienced. But
what we are fundamentally can never be experienced, can never par¬
take in the subject-object relationship, so we must let go of all desire
What then does it mean to become more acquainted with yourself? It
means you become more informed about what you are not, your body,
your senses, emotions, mind. This is a movement diametrically op¬
posed to trying to grasp hold of knowledge. It must come to you. You
must listen to your body, senses and mind, a listening which demands
letting go of all that you think you know, all conditioning, all patterns.
As you remain in this listening, perceptions surface from what
psychology would call the subconscious and superconscious. But
don't give emphasis to these perceptions because to accent the per¬
ceived binds you to a subject-object relationship. First, the accent is on
the perceiver, and later you'll find the listening itself is emphasized, un¬
til finally you find yourself in this listening.
Listening is the background of all that appears. It is stillness. Your
body, senses, mind, and all states come and go, but you are this time¬
The idea that there is actually something to attain is deeply rooted,
so we continue to live in the becoming process, projecting energy in
taking or keeping something. But motiveless listening deepens the
conviction that there is really nothing to gain or lose, and conditioning
drops from the mind, agitation recedes and there is stillness. You are
then like the fisherman who controls neither the fish nor the water. He
only watches. And he comes to feel that everything is contained in this
looking, in this silence - there is nothing apart from it. At this moment
you are at the threshold of your real being, but no amount of willing
can take you across. You are seized by Being itself.
What is it that makes me choose certain things as opposed to other things?
What is the motive which brings you to a certain choice? Yes, see this
very clearly. If the desired change is only superficial, then we go from
one compensation to another, through all the various ideas and
techniques offered by society. In looking deeply at the motive behind a
certain choice, you may discover a feeling of something missing in
yourself. To see what this deficiency is requires stillness, an openness
free of the past. Don't let ideas, memory, tell you what you need. Be
still and you will know the answer to your question.
Looking for something, expecting something, hoping to achieve
something, are all movements away from your axis to the periphery,
from global consciousness to a point of view.
At times there is something in me that doesn't want to give up a certain choice.
But if the choice is very deep, do it, undertake it, follow it. Don't
refuse it. Just be aware while doing it.
Are you saying that when one does not contradict the ego it eventually
Of course. But accepting it is very important. Accept your actions,
your wishes and desires. Acceptance puts you in a position of intelli¬
gence, of spontaneity, wherein the universe is set free. Everything pre¬
viously restricted by your conceptions regains its natural expression.
Only then is real understanding possible, since conclusions appear in
you which have nothing to do with the customary process of memory.
At times an intelligence arises which incites a spontaneous letting-go,
without effort or intention. And at other times I may want something to leave
me, but the release doesn't happen. Is this because the ego is trying to let it go?
Any intent to let go arouses anticipation and resistance because you
are personally involved in what you wish to drop. Any attempt to
force a state or object to leave only serves to reinforce it. You may even
try certain psychological techniques, but often these oppose a real let¬
ting go because they fix one to the ego.
Therefore you must first accept the state and accept yourself. In gen¬
uine acceptance there is no personal involvement in what is accepted,
for there is no person. But it is not psychological acceptance. The seer
is completely outside what is seen. Only then is there real transforma¬
tion, a re-orchestration of all energy, because both the seer and the
seen now point back to your totality, to global consciousness.
Has the person any reality?
It has no reality. What is real exists in itself. This means it is autono¬
mous, having no need of an agent to be known. Since the personality
has need of consciousness to be known, it is not real.
Then the personality is an intellectual superimposition on reality?
The personality is relative because its existence depends on con¬
sciousness. Identification with the personality immediately restricts it
and it is no longer functional. The true personality appears in a given
situation and subsides the moment that situation ends. There is no fix¬
ation for it is completely open to all that is.
Of course in our society human relationship is generally existent be¬
tween personality and personality, between object and object. With this
kind of rapport there is only taking, only a continual search for security.
What do you mean by "a search for security"?
The individual, relative "I" needs a situation in order to exist, and a
different "I" arises with each situation. If "I" am walking, an "I" ap¬
pears who is walking. If "I" am thinking, an "I" appears who thinks.
But the moment the situation ends, so does this "I." So the relative "I,"
the ego, continually projects situations in order to secure itself, to find
Every thought is linked to an image, which in turn is bound to the
five senses. All thought, even abstract thinking, is always connected
to a particular sense perception, with one exception-the ultimate "I."
The question "Who am I?" refers to the ultimate subject, which, lack¬
ing an image, a projection, dissolves into silence. This is the "I" all liv¬
ing beings have in common: pure I-am-ness.
What is a concept?
A concept is a thought, and a thought is a word; a word is a sound,
and a sound is a pulsation. What comes before the pulsation? Still¬
ness. Therefore a concept is nothing but an objectifying of stillness. In
reality all that appears is an expression of stillness. So in the moment
of unity with expression, there is only stillness.
You must accept the possibility of what is said here. In other words,
you have to take a scientific attitude. If a scientist is told that a particu¬
lar formula yields a certain result he may inquire into the steps his
fellow-scientist has taken. At this point his knowledge is second¬
hand, so he repeats the experiment, following the process, to see if he
obtains the same result.
Like the scientist, one gathers information from someone who lives in
the non-state. You inquire how he has come to this, and you accept on
hearsay the possibility of its existence. Then you live the perspective
this person teaches and it becomes first-hand experience.
Everything perceivable is an exteriorization in space-time of your
real being, stillness. You must first be receptive to perceptions of your
body, mind, and senses so that they will have the opportunity to un¬
fold completely and to blossom in you. Only then are you open to the
environment, to the world around you. And in this openness, this ac¬
ceptance, a time eventually comes, you can be sure, when you will
find yourself no longer in the perception or in the world, but in open¬
How can one best allow sensitivity to develop?
Be more and more intimate with yourself. Begin to listen non-
selectively. You may think you are listening while in fact you are only
hearing the repetition of your preconceptions. Consequently you
don't really know yourself, you don't really know the world. What you
call sensitivity only appears when listening is unconditioned, free of
anyone being sensitive. Sensitivity is identity.
Regardless of how subtle our perception may become, as long as we
remain in the subject-object relationship it is always qualified. So the
accent must not be on the perception, but on where it points-
awareness itself. Perception is because we are. And when perception is
given full freedom, it brings us back to global attention, to complete¬
ness, to the timeless. In other words, we have a fore-feeling of ulti¬
What do you mean by "fore-feeling"?
Ask yourself, "What is the real motive behind everything I do, think,
want?" You'll see that your real desire is to be desireless. Your real
desire is peace. In all the various situations of your life you are con¬
tinually seeking desirelessness, but you remain unconvinced of the
fact that the desired object never keeps its promise.
Once a desired object is obtained you experience momentary peace.
But later this same object leaves you indifferent. After a certain point
you reach the conclusion that what you're looking for is not found in
any object, in any projection. This insight brings you to a standstill.
You become quiet, and listening, stripped of direction, becomes multi¬
dimensional and totally open. This is the moment the fore-feeling ap¬
pears, rising out of what you fore-feel. If you let it, it brings you to
itself. And then you are completely undressed, free of all attributes;
you are Silence.
You could call this fore-feeling the original perception, wherein
there is neither perceiver nor anything perceived - only identity with
perception. You feel (without feeling it) that during all states— waking,
dreaming, and sleeping-pure objectless consciousness is.
Are you saying that listening should be free from preconception , without
ideation , imagination or knowledge which may impede the perceived?
Yes. Otherwise you only listen to projections, to the already known.
The investigation we're speaking of is an observation of each situation
in your life without reference to previous experience, without drawing
any conclusions. It is outside the ordinary memory process. Although
the situation may spontaneously come to a conclusion, there is
nobody who concludes.
Does age or maturity have any bearing on this?
Maturity has nothing to do with age. Maturity comes through taking
note, through investigation and listening. As you become familiar
with pure listening, it brings you to the timeless. To use the psycholo¬
gist's formulation, in timeless listening the subconscious and super¬
conscious emerge. Your whole life surfaces.
What is your opinion of psychoanalysis?
The psychoanalyst believes in the existence of an ego. He sees the
whole situation, all that exists, as belonging to this ego. He wants to
help you free the ego from antagonism and contradiction. After many
years of analysis the patient may have a clearer sense of identity— but
he still remains caught in the idea of being an ego. The ego is just a
mental function, an idea appearing in a situation and disappearing
with the situation. The moment we knowingly live in consciousness,
live knowingly in what we fundamentally are, this reflex to visualize
ourselves as an image ceases.
Is the teacher an object of perception ?
Try to avoid making him a perception. The teacher, in giving you no
hold to grasp, brings you back to yourself, because his self and your
self are identical. For him a disciple or pupil does not exist, since he
doesn't identify himself as a teacher. He is. Quite simply, he is.
There is no objective relationship between guru and disciple. In a
certain way it may appear so, but don't be captured by the spell! The
teacher is not taken by the disciple's charm, and the disciple must not
be taken by the teacher's charm. Then there is a current - call it love,
call it knowledge. This current is very important. It arises the moment
you stop qualifying both yourself and the teacher. When you really
love someone, there's no longer an "I" or an "other." Love is empty of
all such attributes.
What is the role of the outer guru? Isn't it to lead one back to that one inner
guru who is everywhere?
In reality the outer guru and the inner guru are the same. We might
say that what we call the outer guru points you in the direction of what
you are. Through his pedagogical gift, he points out that you are not
the body, senses, or mind.
Does a kind of transference occur between the outer guru and the devotee?
Let's say you are looking at a sculpture from Angkhor Buddhism.
The smile on the face of the Angkhor statue is particularly beautiful.
When your attitude is receptive, you may be completely taken by this
smile. You may find yourself smiling too, but not in imitation. Rather
the smile captures you and you find yourself smiling.
But what you call "transference" is a romantic notion. Through all
the arguments he presents, the teacher shows you that what you are
can never be perceived objectively. He brings you closer and closer to
direct seeing and in the end you are at the threshold of your being. But
the teacher can only bring you to the threshold. At this moment you
are absorbed into yourself.
What is it that prevents us from passing the threshold?
If you look deeply into yourself, you will see you refuse to be taken
across. The image of being somebody is very deeply rooted. It
stimulates insecurity, but even this insecurity provides a hold for the
ego. Let it go.
What brings about letting go?
Letting go is a result of understanding, but this has nothing to do
with analysis or any reasoning process. It comes through investiga¬
tion, through taking note. Of course you can take note of one thing
after another, but true understanding is instantaneous when all ele¬
ments comprising a situation in space-time are seen simultaneously.
This global seeing brings you back to silence and in silence is the con¬
firmation of the non-existence of the person.
But I already know this , so what is the problem?
Conditioning is a reflex. Let's say you play the piano with a certain
degree of proficiency but it's hard for you to play pieces requiring
more adeptness. You decide to visit a master pianist who shows you
the appropriate approach to enable you to play these pieces. You
return home quite contented but the next day when you begin to play,
you notice you are lapsing back into the old habits. It takes some time.
There is the conviction that you are nobody, but moments arise in
your daily life when you find yourself reacting. You see the event, you
see your neighbor, and you still put an image of an "I" between your
neighbor and yourself, between the event and yourself. It's normal.
Don't get frustrated. Take note of it and you can be sure a moment will
arrive when you no longer revert to the reflex to project an image of
How can we recognize our real nature?
You can know what you are not but you can never know what you
are. Do you really know what you are not? Your body changes, your
emotions and sensations change. The ideas you held ten years ago are
now completely different. Take note of all that is changing in you. There
is already peace in silent looking. And as you become familiar with what
you are not, you'll feel a distance, a space, between the attitude of obser¬
vation and the observed, until a moment comes when you feel what you
are without feeling it. This is not simply knowing something. It's out¬
side the subject-object relationship. It is being- knowledge.
Would you comment on grace?
Everything that can be perceived, even your self-image, is only
mind. Mind exists in you, in consciousness. So when your listening is
innocent, there is openness, openness to the mind functions, to the
energy in movement. To be open to openness is grace. It is waiting for
you. It can't be obtained through will.
In reading books on yoga one comes upon words like repression , suppression,
discipline and control. What do you think of these expressions?
If you pursue yoga with the idea of attaining something, you move
away from your center to the periphery. Certainly yoga may produce a
more relaxed state, a less agitated mind, but there is the inherent dan¬
ger of getting increasingly stuck in the subject-object relationship. Of
course you may experience a state of peaceful relaxation, but this
peacefulness is still a state which you enter and leave. It is still an ob¬
ject of perception. And when faced with such a subtle and attractive
object it is very difficult to come to consciousness without an object.
We could say yoga works in theory but not in practice, because the
aspirant becomes fixated on the object and completely absorbed in its
sweetness. It is, in a way, tragic. This happens whenever a way is fol¬
lowed to fulfill a motive. Yoga, or any other technique, should be pur¬
sued only with the understanding that there's nothing to attain. The
seeker is what he is seeking, and the idea of attaining anything is only
What about the attainment of samadhi?
It's only a sweet given to the disciple.
Do we need to read sacred books?
Become acquainted with your own book. Learn how to read it, how
to let it tell you its story. Generally we want to tell the book what it
should say, so we don't allow it full expression.
People go through whole lifetimes accepting that they are the ego and it's
this mistaken identification that gives a sense of purpose to the relative "I": to
attain some ever-elusive perfection of itself .
The ego desiring perfection is part and parcel of imperfection. The
mind can never change the mind. See the purposelessness of thought.
Wait till each thought comes to bankruptcy. We must take it for
granted that real change is not a mental process. Only silent aware¬
ness, being out of time, can bring about the true transformation.
In a previous talk you said the realization of who we really are requires no
effort. But if we want to learn the piano , we need to practice a lot before it
becomes effortless. If effort applies to limited objects , why shouldn't it also ap¬
ply to infinity?
We learn to play the piano by observing a representation of the
music and attempting to externalize this on the piano. This doesn't re¬
quire any effort. The first time you play a piece, you notice what hap¬
pens. Through observing your hand position, the way the music
sounds, and so on, you come into contact with the music. In playing it
a second time, you begin to discern what may be preventing a perfect
execution of the piece. And the third time you play it perfectly.
In the same way you come to realize your real nature. First there is
observation, which brings about a discrimination that leads to spon¬
taneous insight. None of this requires effort.
The word "effort" implies intention, the will to achieve some end.
But this end is a projection from the past, from memory, and so we
miss being present to the moment at hand. It may be accurate to speak
of "right attention" in the sense of unconditioned listening, but this at¬
tention is diametrically opposed to effort in that it is entirely free from
direction, motivation and projection. In right attention our listening is
unconditioned; there is no image of a person to impede global hear¬
ing. It is not limited to the ear; the whole body hears. It's entirely out¬
side the subject-object relationship. Listening occurs, but nothing is
heard and nobody listens. And as unconditioned listening is our real
nature, we come to know ourselves in listening.
But we seldom really listen. We live more or less continually in the
process of becoming. We project an image of being somebody and
identify with this. And as long as we take ourselves to be an indepen¬
dent entity, there is continual hunger, a feeling of incompleteness. The
ego is contantly searching for fulfillment and security, hence its per¬
petual need to become, to achieve, to attain. So we never really contact
life, for this requires openness from moment to moment. In this open¬
ness the agitation aroused by trying to fill an absence in yourself comes
to an end, and in the remaining stillness you are pointed back to your
completeness. Without a self-image you are really one with life and
with the movement of intelligence. Only then can we speak of spon¬
taneous action. We all know moments when pure intelligence, freed
from psychological interference, arises, but as soon as we return to an
image of being somebody we question this intution by asking if it's
right or wrong, good or bad for us, and so on. Whatever we do inten¬
tionally belongs to the "ego-I," and though it appears as action, it is
really just reaction. Only that which spontaneously arises out of
silence is action and this leaves no residue. You can't even remember
it. The intentional action of the "ego-I" always leaves a residue which
emerges perhaps in the dream state or even as a fixation we might later
In spontaneity action occurs but nobody acts. There is no strategy,
no preparation. There's only awareness free from agitation and
memory and in this stillness all action is spontaneous, because every
situation belongs to your openness, and itself tells you exactly how to
proceed. Real action does not come from reasoning but through recep¬
tive observation. For example, when you see a small child run into the
street, you don't stop and think, "Shall I shout for help or shall I go
and get her, or should I leave her alone?" You act. And even if you
have performed this action twenty times, it is new each time. It
belongs absolutely to the moment.
How do you differentiate between spontaneity and impulsiveness?
An impulse is based on memory, on conditioning. It is a reaction and
often emotive. Observe in yourself the difference between reaction
and spontaneity. Spontaneous action comes out of the situation and is
perfectly in accord with it. It hurts neither yourself nor the surround¬
ings because there is nothing intentional in it.
Whatever we do spontaneously is right. But we must stick to it. Let's
say a strong intuition comes up to go to London. How to go, where to
stay, etc., are realized as an extension of intuition in space-time. They
flow out of your presence to the situation. But the mind may grasp the
intution and give it some direction, some motive or intention.
"Perhaps I won't go because I won't find what I hope to. ... It won't be
good for me to be there," and so on.
What is really essential is to come to know yourself and this requires
freedom from projection, from comparison and evaluation. As soon as
you see that you are continually feeding an idea of being somebody,
you're free from it. What we call spiritual illumination is simply seeing
that this projected image is an illusion. In freedom from an image, from
projecting any pattern, you set your surroundings free as well.
Do you see any value in sitting meditation practice?
Meditation is not a cerebral function. Sitting with the intent to medi¬
tate is not meditation. There may be an inner urge to meditate, but this
doesn't come from the "ego-I" who expects something. It comes di¬
rectly from silence, from your real nature.
As long as you haven't realized silence, sitting can help you become
acquainted with yourself, and help you see that you are constantly in
reaction. This observation alone places you outside reaction—until a
moment comes when you find yourself in listening. I say "in
listening," but I could also say "in accepting," because acceptance
automatically puts you in an attitude of listening. And then you no
longer practice meditation, for it is at every moment.
What is memory?
Consciousness and its object, thought, are one, not two. Duality ap¬
pears in non-duality. But you may ask, "If consciousness and percep¬
tion are one, how is it I can later say, T saw this carpet'?" This is
memory speaking but memory is only a way of thinking, a mental
device, because the moment I say, "I saw a carpet," I merely label the
past, but it is a present thought.
Thought and its object are one. You can never think of a subject and
an object simultaneously. The same is true for cause and effect. When
you think of an effect, where is the cause? When you think of a cause,
where is the effect? Memory imagines it can think of two things at the
same time, but in fact consciousness is always one.
We could say the world is because you are with your senses. The world is
nothing other than seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. But
after the direct perception you superimpose a concept onto the sensation to
qualify the world, sensation ceases, because the percept and the concept
cannot occur together. Once conceptualization stops, stillness remains,
silence, consciousness, pure perception. All these words point to Being.
There is nothing to attain, nothing to achieve. The moment you ad¬
mire something you enter a subject-object relationship, for you can
only be an admirer if there is an object to be admired. When you really
understand that an admiring subject exists only because an admired
object exists, you stop projecting something admired. Producing an
object is just a way to localize and secure our egos by fixing energy. So
when you stop producing, and all the fixed energy returns to its
origin, you will reveal yourself as the admired, as silence.
The seeker is what he is seeking.
It reminds me of the saying;'The moon is in the sky not in the reflection in
the water ."
But all you are not is a reflection of what you are. All that you are not
is an extension, an expression in space-time of what you really are.
When you see the moon's reflection in the water you know if you look
up you'll discover the moon.
What is essential here is to become more acquainted with your in¬
timate nature, your sensations, body tensions, feelings and desires,
without making any judgment. In innocent looking we are completely
outside what we observe. In other words, we take note, and just tak¬
ing note has its own taste. If I were to ask you what you have in your
mouth, you might reply, "Nothing," but really there's the taste of the
mouth. Likewise, when I say, "Taking note has its own taste," I mean
it is in itself an inner attitude. In assuming this attitude you find your¬
self spontaneously taking note.
Does that which takes note have any thought or form?
You are yourself in taking note. The moment form or thought arise
you move away from your real being to the periphery. You are primal
awareness. Life is only primal awareness. Between two thoughts or
two perceptions you are. You know moments in your life when a
thought completely disappears into silence, but still you are.
What causes us to move out of this stillness?
I would say it's a reflex because up to now you know yourself only in
perception, in connection to events and feelings. As long as you don't
really know what silence is you feel insecure in silence, because there's
no place here for an ego. The ego can only exist in connection to situa¬
tions and so it is always eager to look for a hold. But if you are ac¬
quainted with letting go, if you stop producing and just let things
come to you, you will become completely free. Of course then there is
no longer a "you" - only freedom itself.
Are you free because you no longer pay attention to the mind's movements?
There's no longer attraction and repulsion for you are completely
one with life. All that is the expression, the extension, of life goes on
but there is no longer reaction, or concentration, or tension, because
these arise only when there is a controlling ego. You really live in the
moment itself, because you're out of the becoming process.
Everything is accomplished in the moment. You are empty of a past, of
memory. Silence is love.
Would you speak about fear?
First see that what you call "fear"' is not fear. Fear is a sensation in
your body and mind, a sensation you prevent yourself from feeling
the moment you label it "fear." To arrive at the sensation, you must let
go of the concept, the idea of fear, and then the perception will have an
opportunity to reveal itself.
The pure sensation of fear is only tension. Tension arises the mo¬
ment you look at a situation from the point of view of an image, of a
man or woman, of a mother or father, of somebody's husband or wife,
and the tension stimulates chemical, physical and psychic changes in
the body-mind. But this tension can never be eliminated through
analysis, through any process of reasoning, for he who undertakes
analysis belongs to what is being analyzed. And as we have said
before, the mind can never change the mind.
You must live with your fear, even love it. By this I mean you must
offer no resistance to its movement. Go with your fear as you would
automatically move with a train which has just started leaving, but
which you very much want to catch. As it moves all your energy
moves with it. There is no opposition. You might even grab the hand¬
rails and jump on.
So move with fear not against it. Escaping it, rationalizing it or
analyzing it, only adds fuel to the fire. As beautiful as your ideas may
be, as philosophical as your explanations are, they can't remove the
actual tension of fear. They simply shift it to another location.
Fear concerns the person, and the person is a mere fraction of
yourself. So the fraction regards a situation from a partial perspective.
And as a fraction is never harmonious, all action emerging from the
the partial view is inevitably disharmonious.
There must be no opposition. In accepting the sensation there is no
longer a place for an image of somebody who reacts. In going with the
fear you are outside it, detached, impersonal. We might say that in the
moment of acceptance fuel is no longer added and the fire naturally
dies out. The perception dissolves into the self, into your opening, and
you awaken in this opening where there is no fear.
How can I step back from my emotions , desires and agitations so that I may
keep myself in pure awareness?
You can't keep awareness because it is what you are. What it is and
what you are is the light in all perception. All objects, all perceptions
are dependent on this light, your real nature. They can't exist without
perceiving light. This light in all perceptions I call the ultimate subject.
Be clear that it has nothing to do with the subject, the "I," we take our¬
selves for in the subject-object relationship. Perception is only because
you, light, awareness, ultimate subject, whatever you name it, are.
Perception appears and disappears in you.
So be completely aware of the perception. See that it exists in time
and space, while you are timeless. Space and time are nothing other
than energy in movement. When no volitional subject interferes to
crystallize it, perception takes shape and then dissolves back into
silence, for silence is continuous while perception is discontinuous. So
accent the perceiver, the subject, not the perceived, the object. At first
you may experience silent awareness only after the dissolution of per¬
ception, but later you will be the silence in both the presence and ab¬
sence of objects.
As a blank sheet of paper is unaffected by whatever you may write
on it, so choiceless awareness is unaffected by the three states of wak¬
ing, sleeping, and dreaming. These states are superimposed onto pure
It seems paradoxical that we must go through a movement in time to become
established in what you call the timeless. Do we become established in it or does
it become established in us?
Be aware of how you function. Become acquainted with your body,
your sensations, your feelings, fears, and thoughts. It is then that you
may discover that what you call your body, senses and mind are only
ideas which you entertain without really knowing what they are. You
superimpose a memory-image onto your body and emotions.
So the first step, if we can speak of steps, is to see how rarely you
listen because of your constant reactions and anticipation. In innocent
observing, what is seen points back to the seeing itself. There is no
longer any interference of an ego racing to judge, qualify or conclude.
You find yourself in an attention which is free from tension and con¬
centration, where there is no-one attentive nor any object of attention.
Live this attention, without reference to something, for it is outside the
subject-object relationship. You are consciousness, which remains
during all the various states we enter and leave. There and then only
are the love and joy of living to be found.
When you entered the room, you sat doxvn and took off your jacket. Where
was your mind when you took off your jacket?
There is no actor, only acting, only taking off the jacket. In reality
there is no actor at all. The actor is a superimposition, a form of
memory which appears only after the action. In acting itself there is
only oneness. You may believe it possible to act, and while acting to
think "I am acting," but the two don't occur at the same time. The "I"
as an actor is one thought; the action is another thought; and two
thoughts can't exist simultaneously. The rapid succession of thoughts
gives an impression of simultaneity, but there can only be one thought
at a time.
Are you saying you did not knowingly take off your jacket?
Look ... I am sitting here but I am not my body. The body is an object
of my perception. This object feels warm and this feeling of warmth
removes the jacket, a completely spontaneous action, but there is no
one who acts. That "I" removed the jacket appears afterwards as an
idea, as an image of myself as an actor. But during the action itself it
isn't possible to be in an idea of myself and in the act at the same time.
Let's say you're a violinist. While playing the violin it's not possible
to think, "I am playing the violin." At the moment of playing you're
completely involved in the movement, so there is no place for the idea
of a player. The thought, "I am playing" may quickly pass through
your mind, but at this instant you're in this idea not in the playing.
Our language is dualistic. When you say, "I am playing the violin" it
means the playing of the violin belongs to an "I." When you identify
the "I" with the violin player you have an idea of yourself as playing.
But really this "I" has nothing to do with the player.
Most of us identify with our body, our actions , our thoughts and feelings.
This is something we've been taught to do since we were very young. But you
seem to be saying this identification process is false. What insight takes us to
the position of non-identification?
Your parents have given you a shape and a name. Your education
and environment attribute many qualifications to you and you identify
with these. In other words, society has given you an idea of being
someone. So when you think of yourself, you think in terms of a man
with all the various qualifications that accompany this image. This ac¬
cumulation has gone through many changes yet you are aware of
them. You can remember when you were seven. You can recall when
you had no beard. This indicates that there's an observer of these
changes. The ability to observe change means that the change is in
you, you are not in the change, for if you were how could you observe
it? So what really belongs to the insight (to use your word) is what is
changeless in you. You are the witness of all change but this witness
never changes. So the real question is, "How can I become acquainted
with the witness?"
I'm not sure I see what you mean. I understand that changes have occurred
which are recorded in my brain and I'm aware of these as memories. I don't see
the need to bring in a witness.
The witness is always present, is always presence. It is that which is
not identified with change, with circumstances, and therefore
"observes" them. Whenever you take note of a change, you do so from
the position of the present. It is a present thought. It is this continual
presentness throughout life that we call the witness. One cannot say it
was bom because birth and death are ideas, second-hand knowledge,
something you've been told about. To know the witness, therefore,
means to experience presentness in all change. Naming presence "the
witness" is only a pedagogical device to show you that you are not the
image you have of yourself, and to accent the subject, not the object, in
your perceptions. In the end even the witness dissolves in that pres¬
ence from which it springs.
When the body dies does consciousness remain?
What is the body? The body is a thought, a contrivance of the mind.
When you look at the sky where is the body? When you look at the sky
where is the man? Is there a man? There is only seeing the sky. Without
the thought of being a man there's no man. You have an idea of a body
but in reality it doesn't exist. The body, the man, are ways of thinking.
You do not wake up in the morning. It is the idea of a body which
wakes up in you. What is there before the body wakes up? You are!
But isn't that just an idea ... I'm not aware of existing before.
That's true, but still you are present before the body awakens. You
know certain moments when the body is not completely awake but
Once a desire is fulfilled, there's a moment of desirelessness where
no one is desireless. There's only being, and in this there's neither idea
nor emotion. You may have a beautiful wife. When you are apart from
each other, you may visualize her charm, her shape, her intelligence
and so on, all the qualifications. But there comes a moment when all
qualifications vanish and there is only being. There is no longer any
image of a beloved or an image of a lover. There is only love. This is
what I mean when I say you are neither the senses nor the mind. You
are this love.
How can I become free of this self-image?
Become fully aware of the idea you have of yourself. This "I" is still an
object you can know. You know your desires, fears and anxieties, but
who is the knower? You can never objectify the knower because you are
the knower. So be the knower. Don't try to find yourself somewhere in
an I-image because you are nowhere. Don't look for yourself!
Why do we always identify with what we are not?
Let's rephrase this question. Let's first ask, "What is it we are not?"
We are not the body, senses or mind. But to really understand this, we
must first accept our physical and mental functions. Real knowledge
of something demands total openness.
Perhaps you're aware that your body is heavy or tense, but your
body is more than heaviness and tension. Come to know the body
through listening to it, for the body is in you, you are not in it. The
body is a case history, so one must give it the chance to reveal itself.
And to do this you must be still. Listening has no room for someone
who listens. There is only alert, empty listening, which allows the
body to express its history. Otherwise you can't ever really get to know
your body, because it becomes a projection of your memory. For most
of us, it isn't the body that awakens each morning but the pattern, the
idea, we have of it. It isn't real. You may ask, "What is real?" That
which exists in itself is real. The body needs consciousness to exist. If
you aren't conscious of it, the body doesn't exist.
It exists in other people's consciousness. Isn't this Bishop Berkeley's argu¬
ment for the existence of God?
First one must understand what you mean by God. Isn't God more
or less an idea? What is God for you except an idea?
What does not depend on consciousness for its existence?
Everything that can be perceived has no reality; it has need of an agent to
be known. Consciousness alone is real because it needs no agent. The body
is just an idea. It appears and disappears in you when you don't think
about it. It appears and disappears in consciousness, and what appears and
disappears in consciousness is nothing else than consciousness. The body,
the whole universe is an expression of consciousness.
What is the distinction between mind and consciousness?
You can be aware of your mind. You can be aware of your left and
right brain functions. You are the knower of your mind, of your brain.
So you are not these.
Do you mind if I ask you some personal questions?
There's no person to answer personal questions. I listen to your
question and I listen to the answer. The answer comes out of silence.
Presumably you had contact with a teacher but it has no relevance now?
It refers only to the present and there is only present. When you
speak of the past it is also now. There is no past. Past and future don't
exist. What we call the past is a present thought. Time, like space, is
just a way of thinking, a state of mind.
In that case , is there a particular method of practice you would recommend?
Knowing yourself requires no practice. You don't need to undertake
anything. There is nothing to attain, nothing to lose.
Could you tell us more about what you mean by unconditioned listening?
Whenever listening is intentional, tension arises because a result is
anticipated, and this result is a product, a projection of memory.
Unconditioned listening has no end in mind and in this openness all
the senses are receptive. Hearing is no longer confined to the ears, in¬
stead the whole body listens with an ever-expanding sensitivity un¬
til you feel yourself in listening itself. Another way to say this is that
you no longer listen because you are listening.
Awareness of stillness, of silence, may first arise in the absence of
objects, as often happens in sitting meditation. But later, it is sustained
in both their presence and absence. This awareness, which is listen¬
ing, is the background of every appearance, so that even while engaged
in activity you are aware of both the activity and being.
Awareness of being is not a perception for being can never be objec¬
tified. We can't be aware of two objects at the same time; we can't have
two thoughts simultaneously. But we can be simultaneously aware of
both our phenomenal existence and our presence, being. This non-state
spontaneously appears the instant producing and projecting cease.
Any attempt to produce this non-state actually immerses us deeper
in the subject-object relationship. There are times when attaining
silence may be of momentary benefit, since a temporary absence of
thought produces a relaxed state. But remaining in this subject-object
relationship, which is all the absence of thought is, bars you from a more
profound silence. The presence of the blank state can even be an obstacle;
being energy in movement it cannot be continuously sustained. True
silence is neither movement nor energy, but stillness.
Can one who has reached the non-state ever lose it?
When you have once realized who you really are, this can never be
lost. But up to the "moment" of recognition, your position may be
fragile. Although global consciousness is ever-present, you leave it by
identifying with your senses and mind, your reactions and fears. But it
brings you back. You are solicited by it.
Martin Buber once asked his brother , "Tell me where you feel your pain
because I want to help." And his brother replied , "If you love me, you will
know where my pain is ." We are sometimes aware of the pain of those whom we
love. What should we do with this pain?
When you hold an image of your brother as someone who is ill,
you're an accomplice to his illness. Only when all projection stops is
observation unqualified and awareness complete. Then all that is
observed appears in you, in this awareness. You don't merely see your
brother's physical aspect, but all the subtler levels as well. And you are
no longer an accomplice to his pain.
Every thought is an image and every image stimulates affectivity. In
other words, the moment an image arises in the mind it strikes your
entire chemical and neurological functioning, and this results in a
reaction. So what you think of as pain is a reaction evoked by the im¬
age you've created. But it may surprise you to discover that when you
face your brother without projecting an image onto him, he can no
longer locate himself anywhere, not in his body, nor in his pain, nor in
his ideas. You set him free, for he no longer has the chance to create an
image of himself. And once this provocation to produce an image
drops away, healing follows its natural course.
And when someone is suffering?
If you suffer with him, you're an accomplice. The moment you love
him, complicity ends. Love is free of all images. But where there's
emotivity or sentimentality, when you feel with him and share in his
self-image, then you help him feel his pain.
So having pity for someone makes me an accomplice and actually hinders the
Of course one must really understand what is meant by pity.
Should we then realize that despite the evidence of pain, it is not to be ac¬
cepted as a reality?
In a moment of openness you are unconditioned love. And inherent
in this is an intelligence which indicates exactly how to behave
towards your brother. But you should also understand that to take
away his pain is not of any real benefit to him. Pain points to some¬
thing. Like an alarm, it awakens you. But don't try to escape by finding
some psychological interpretation. One must really see what pain is
You can help your brother discover who is the producer of pain. Like
every object, like every perception, pain refers us back to conscious¬
ness, to the ultimate, for it is the ultimate which illumines the object.
And into which the pain dissolves?
In reality there is only the ultimate. The moment pain points to the
ultimate, put the accent on the ultimate, not on the pain.
I find it hard to understand how pain points to the ultimate.
I'm not speaking of pain as a concept, but as a perception, a sensa¬
tion. Usually we resist the pure sensation by constructing some idea of
pain. And this refusal is a reaction which contributes to the pain. But
when you allow pain to be pure sensation, devoid of any psychologi¬
cal reaction, all the energy previously localized as pain is liberated and
dissolves back into the ultimate.
Another way to express this is to let the body be body. The body has
an organic memory of health. You have the proof of this in the fact that
when you cut your finger, it heals within a week. The body evidently
knows precisely how to heal itself.
Then the natural state of the body is pure health?
Yes. There may be some momentary disturbances, but the fundamen¬
tal state of the body is health. The true physician embodies total health
because he is health. He helps health heal the body by going with it.
Many modem medical techniques or medicines oppose health in view¬
ing the body as an enemy. There must not be any violence. It is impor¬
tant for you to regard your body as a friend who knows perfect health.
On the path towards non-duality , some authorities urge us to use concen¬
tration and effort , while others tell us to be effortless. What is the explanation
for this apparent contradiction?
Effort arises when one projects some goal to be attained, but what
you fundamentally are can never be attained since you already are it.
So why the effort? In the beginning relaxation techniques may be use¬
ful, since the relaxed state enables you to see that what you are seeking
is found the very instant seeking stops.
Inherent in this stopping is the fore-feeling of fundamental unity.
This fore-feeling may well stimulate a kind of effort to have it know-
ingly, but in this case effort is not a process of volition. Issuing from
the effortless, it attracts you to its source, to your real nature.
Are you saying there are two types of effort , a volitional kind and another
which transcends the personal will?
The first type of effort belongs to the "I," the ego. The second flows
directly from the effortless, for its origin is Self.
A kind of effortless effort?
Yes, because the motive behind all effort is to be effortless. The sole
desire is for desirelessness. You see this when you look at what hap¬
pens the moment a desired object is obtained. There is desirelessness
but nobody who is desireless, so at this point there is no object as its
cause. You live your real non-dual nature. Later, however, you leave it
and the "I" enters, saying, "I was happy because I bought a new
house, or met a new friend" and so on. But a time comes when this ob¬
ject no longer suffices. So you begin anew to search for some other ob¬
ject. And this vicious circle continues until you finally see that desire¬
lessness has absolutely nothing to do with any object. It is in you.
Is it dangerous to try to experience non-duality without a personal guide , a
This question evades a true self-confrontation because it gives validity
to the "person," to an appearance in space-time. You must first begin
by really facing yourself, your fears, desires and reactions. By this I
mean stop superimposing your own projections and accept life as it
comes to you. The surest way to discover truth is to stop resisting it.
Self-awareness requires a certain degree of maturity which arises
naturally when you question your motives and desires from a stance
of receptivity. You await the answer. This stance is a kind of recapitula¬
tion of your whole life, without attraction-repulsion, likes and dis¬
likes. You take stock; you look; you take note. In the moment of self¬
acceptance you are still. You let your perceptions unfold, you let your
pain and desires speak, the ego is absent, but you remain still. This is
the moment to find a teacher. But the person can never find him. He
comes to you, because he is waiting for you.
You are saying not to seek a guru?
The very intention to find someone already prejudices the way you
see. Seeking something means you're not open to whatever comes to
meet you from moment to moment. But if your attitude is innocent,
receptive to the world, empty of reaction, you can be sure you will
meet all you need to meet.
Can one raise a child in freedom from the "I"?
To free the child from an image, you must first be free, free of all
qualifications - particularly from the image of being a father. Preserv¬
ing the father-image arouses the need to fulfill all that defines a father
and, in turn, your child must fulfill all that defines his relationship to
you. Then there is a kind of mutual imprisonment.
Only when the contact is no longer between two images, but between
being and being, is communion possible. Then we speak of love.
If there is complete acceptance , one doesn't question?
If there is acceptance, there is no longer any question. But accep¬
tance is not a passive position. On the contrary, it is highly alert, atten¬
tive, active. You are totally aware of all you accept. In accepting things,
there is intelligence, and in this intelligence you are completely appro¬
priate to every situation, to every living being. You stop adding fuel to
your ego, to your fathership. And then your child is free, for your ob¬
servation remains constantly fresh. In this freedom, he grows.
When you are aware of your child, when you are open to him, you
know exactly what he needs, for there is immediate understanding of
his way of communicating, of his movements, and so on. In other
words, all projecting stops. We can even say this openness is love.
When you speak of projecting, what is doing the projecting?
Yes, you project this image with the help of society. Society holds
certain ideas about you and its behavior towards you is based on
these. The reflex to create an image of yourself as an independent,
separate identity, gives society a place to grasp. So don't give society a
What we call "enlightenment" is simply realizing you are not the
person, not the image society has impressed on you. Enlightenment is
seeing that there is only unqualified nothingness. In this nothingness,
you are free, you feel free, you act freely, you think freely. But as long
as you live with an image of yourself, there is only fear.
Do we continue to project an image of ourselves even when we're alone?
Even then you objectify yourself as an image. What do you really
know about yourself? You only know yourself in situations, in all the
various qualifications. So you're alone, and you project an idea of a
married woman, or a mother with a child, or a woman who is unloved.
Already this image stimulates an emotional, chemical, neurological
reaction, which in turn generates the feeling of being restricted,
located somewhere. This localization arouses tension. And then what
happens? You try to escape this feeling of tension. You read a book,
you go to a film, you phone a friend. All this activity is compensation.
You must see that what you call "yourself" is only the projection of
an image, that exists solely because you see it. You are the seer, the
knower of this image. You know all its fear and insecurity. The mo¬
ment you see it, you are outside the projecting process. And as the im¬
age is only energy in movement, when you stop feeding it, it dies.
But the mind is always clinging to something. I don't understand how you
can go from this to the freedom of which you speak.
Accept the mind. Let it be. Don't be against it, don't be violent.
Simply accept it. Acceptance will show you that you still want to con¬
trol it, to give life a certain direction. And so you lose the possibility of
really living. Life springs up in letting go.
See that you project an image of yourself with all its encumbering at¬
1 project myself?
New Mexico August 1980
What can I do to become more receptive to ultimate reality?
There is no system, method or technique by which to approach reality.
It reveals itself when all technique and systems fail and the futility of
volition is seen. Then the mind comes into a state of innocent sur¬
render. Technique only makes the mind more cunning and ingenious.
You still remain in its net, and although you may have the impression
of transformation, you are in fact still playing the old games. It's a
Freedom, humility and love appear instantaneously, never as an
achievement. The mind, the thinking processes, take place in terms of
time and space. But silent awareness is not conditioned or qualified by
either time or space. So the limited mind cannot reach the absolute by
expanding itself. All such effort only results in perpetuating the ego.
If you pay attention while we are talking, then in that very state of at¬
tention your mind undergoes transformation. The important thing is
the act of listening, of observing your reaction to these words. Real lis¬
tening involves your whole being, and in it the boundaries of the ego
dissolve. The mind then comes into a state of great alertness.
Concerning your question, any method or technique involves spe¬
cialization or localization. But such focusing on a part can never bring
you to the whole. The more you specialize, the more your field of vi¬
sion narrows, but the basic cause of conflict in the psyche is not removed.
Tranquility obtained through techniques is only on the surface, while
the deeper source of conflict continues.
How can I free my mind from conditioning?
Mind is function, energy in movement. It is a storehouse on different
levels of consciousness of individual and collective past experiences.
Without memory there is no mind, for thoughts are sounds, words and
symbols appearing in memory. Memory is itself conditioned, being based
on the pleasure-pain structure: all pleasure is stored and whatever is
painful is relegated to the unconscious layers.
The basic function of the human organism is survival. Biological sur¬
vival is a natural instinct, but psychological survival is the source of
conflict since it is simply survival of the pscyche with its center the
"me." What we generally call learning is appropriation and condition¬
ed by psychological survival. The conditioned mind cannot be chang¬
ed by its own effort or system.
Then how does this transformation , this integration , happen?
The mind must come to a state of silence, completely empty of fear,
longing and all images. This cannot be brought about by suppression,
but by observing every feeling and thought without qualification, con¬
demnation, judgment, or comparison. If unmotivated alertness is to
operate the censor must disappear. There must simply be a quiet look¬
ing at what composes the mind. In discovering the facts just as they
are, agitation is eliminated, the movement of thoughts becomes slow
and we can watch each thought, its cause and content as it occurs. We
become aware of every thought in its completeness and in this totality
there can be no conflict. Then only alertness remains, only silence in
which there is neither observer nor observed. So do not force your
mind. Just watch its various movements as you would look at flying
birds. In this uncluttered looking, all your experiences surface and
unfold. For unmotivated seeing not only generates tremendous
energy but frees all tension, all the various layers of inhibitions. You
see the whole of yourself.
Observing everything with full attention becomes a way of life, a
return to your original and natural meditative being.
How can I act in a way that doesn't create further reaction , karma?
Whenever love and kindness are in your heart, you will have the in¬
telligence to know what to do and when and how to act. When the
mind sees its limitations, the limitations of the intellect, a humility and
innocence arise which are not a matter of cultivation, accumulation or
learning, but the result of instantaneous understanding. The moment
you see your helplessness, that nothing works, you come to a point of
surrender, a stand-still, where you are in communion with silence,
ultimate truth. It is this reality which transforms your mind, and not
effort or decision.
I feel I know myself somewhat. I have a certain awareness of my psychologi¬
cal strengths and weaknesses , but I also feel a lack of perfect satisfaction , other¬
wise I wouldn't be here. Is there anything I can do now?
If you take note, you will see that you are violent with your percep¬
tion. You constantly interfere, by trying to control it, to direct it. The
controller belongs to what is controlled; both are objects and one ob¬
ject cannot know another. So you must increasingly let perception un¬
fold, give it complete freedom. If you let perception unfold, it will
sooner or later bring you back to yourself. Allow letting go to reveal
itself and the dynamism to produce will disappear.
How can 1 learn from conflict?
See that in either accepting or rejecting you are conditioned because
there's nothing to accept or reject. In total listening, attention without
memory, there's no conflict. There is only seeing. In silent listening
what is said, what is heard and what comes up as response and reac¬
tion, lie within your own self. This perception of the whole is real at¬
tention and in this there are neither problems nor conditioning. There
is simply freedom.
What do you mean when you say there's no actor in doing , speaking or
In action which springs from completeness there's no actor to act,
there's only action. You are functioning and the "I" is absent. The mo¬
ment the "T'-thought comes up, you become self-conscious and
caught in conflict. In the absence of this thought there is no speaker or
listener, no subject controlling an object. Only then is there complete
harmony and adequacy in every circumstance.
What is the place of the intellect in unconditioned listening?
The intellect is a defense against something you reject or accept.
Once you have, out of totality, seen the truth of something, there is no
escaping it. You live with it. With this complete understanding the
mind cannot avoid changing and transformation occurs. When the in¬
tellect is absent there is total attention; listening and talking may spon¬
taneously happen but they spring from reality. There is no longer any
producing by the mind. In silent attention the mind is completely
empty, so what is heard penetrates deeply. In a state of either rejection
cr acceptance there is merely a playing with words, with memory.
with the intellect. But in a state of silent listening, there's no place for
right or wrong, compensation or conclusion. They have, through in¬
tuitive understanding, either become knowledge or they have not.
Become aware of the processes of your mind and body and you will
begin to understand yourself. There's no difference between this and
understanding the whole universe. Your perception completely opens
itself to reality in its fullness.
Can one think a real experience?
An experience is happening. It cannot be thought. Thinking is not
direct experience but the pursuit and attempted repetition of sensation.
In the real experience the experiencer is completely absorbed in the ex¬
perienced - they are one, leaving no memory or identification. It is a
non-experience because there's nobody experiencing anything.
In the field of technology the accumulation of experience is neces¬
sary and does not lead to conflict. But on the psychological plane,
which is driven by like and dislike, the accumulation of experience
strengthens the ego and denies the possibility of the real experience:
The mature peak of an experience is the freedom of oneness without
subject and object. This is not the unity of the mystical experience
which is still a state that is entered and left. The real experience is not a
search for pleasure on any level because satisfaction is sensation that
has not been fully resorbed. It is the remnant of an incomplete experi¬
ence, a repetition of memory's projections. The mind then gets bored
and seeks new experiences.
In the real non-experience no residue is left. It brings us back at
every moment to our timeless nature.
How can I become free from the boredom I often feel?
If we live superficially and observe this, we become aware of a deep
lack or discomfort which can appear as boredom. We see ourselves go¬
ing from one compensation to the other. Face these moments of bore¬
dom. Really perceive them without justification or conceptualization.
You must free perception, let it unfold in your awareness. Then a
transformation takes place on every level. All the energy that was
dispersed and localized in fixed habits becomes freed and re-orches-
trated. Each circumstance calls for a re-harmonizing of energy that is
perfectly adequate to the situation.
In the complete re-orchestration that takes place, the energy that
was previously dispelled in psychological time "returns" and vanishes
in our timeless presence.
You say that when we live in freedom from the subject-object relationship we
live in the timeless. But our bodies come and go , the sun rises and sets , so are
we not in the end bound to time?
Are you clear what you mean by "time"? It is true that man is always
creating time. Psychological time is thought based on memory. It is es¬
sentially the past and we continually revive the past through it. In fact,
what we call the future is only a modified past. Psychological time is
never in the now, but like a pendulum is in constant movement from
past to future, from future to present, in rapid succession. It exists only
on the horizontal plane of having-becoming, pleasure-displeasure,
grasping-avoidance, security-insecurity. It is the source of misery and
conflict. Understanding psychological time and space is the way to
meditation and right living.
Chronological, astronomical time is equally based on memory, but it
is a purely functional memory, free from the intervention of the ego, of
will. It is essentially present. Events proceed in orderly succession and
since there's no movement between a so-called past and future, there
is no conflict.
Life is present, but when we think, we think in terms of the past or
the future. To live in the now implies a mind free from end-gaining
and recapitulation, free from grasping and striving. In the present
there is no thought; thoughts are fused into a whole. Life in the mo¬
ment contains all possible happening so there is no place for time.
Everything can be summed up in this: time is thought and thought ap¬
pears in time. Beauty and joy are only revealed in the now.
You often say that right action is not a question of morality but springs natu¬
rally from spontaneity . How can I come to this spontaneity?
Spontaneity comes through listening and results in understanding.
In unconditioned listening, which is silence, freedom from all agita¬
tion and concept, the situation is seen in its entirety and it is from this
whole seeing that appropriate spontaneous action springs.
It is obvious that an action which proceeds from conscious thought
cannot be spontaneous. It is equally true, but less obvious, that actions
springing from habit, inclination or instinct cannot be spontaneous
either. For habit and instinct are conditioned, automatic and mechan¬
ical, and actions which come from inclination are motivated by justifi¬
cation, rationalization and conflict. They are all ruled by unconscious
thought. In fact, we can call only that which springs from spontaneity,
action. Everything else is not free from interference and is therefore
To uncover spontaneity, conscious and unconscious thought must
come to an end. All the projections of the intellect must stop if creative
spontaneity is to operate. Intellectual effort and the cultivation of will¬
power are useless in integrating spontaneity. The mind must become
humble and sensitive, free from violence, pride and greed. Then real
intelligence can function.
When the intellect becomes silent through observation, through lis¬
tening, the basic nature of the mind undergoes a transformation. This
transformation reaches to the most obscure urges and movements of
our animal life. The intellect becomes clear-thinking in the light of all-
integrating intelligence and a beautiful human being is bom.
Life is living spontaneity, untouched by time.
What about social and conventional morality?
When you let the Supreme take you in charge, spontaneity is vir¬
tuous and beyond social and conventional morality.
Can I be active in silence?
Silence is our natural state. It is the background of everything. No
concentration is necessary to be it. As long as we are involved in percep¬
tion we live in time, that is, we live only on the horizontal plane. But si¬
lence is timeless. It is at the center where time and timeless meet, where
the horizontal and the vertical come together. This point is the heart.
Usually in our involvement with objects we do not really perceive
things as they are but see only the projections of the ego. Unless our
perceptions are allowed to blossom in ego-less silence, we cannot really
know reality. Do you see this flower? Let it come to you in its fullness
without imposing your mind on it. Real observation is multi¬
dimensional. You see, hear, taste, smell, feel, with your whole being,
globally. True seeing is alert receptivity, an alive passivity. In this ob¬
servation an object may appear but one is not directed to it.
How should I think of death, and how can I cope with the experience of death?
Thought appears in silence and vanishes in silence. Something
which appears in something and vanishes in something is nothing
other than this something.
Likewise, what you believe yourself to be also appears and vanishes
in silence. What you understand by death is really nothing other than
a pointer to silence, to life itself. Death has no reality. But if you don't
see it in this way, it remains a stagnant idea in which you are trapped.
As long as you take yourself for an independent entity you are submit¬
ted to karma. Let us put it another way: before speaking of death, ask
yourself what is life. All perception is, only because you are eternal
present beingness. This is the background of waking, dreaming and
deep sleep. In living knowledge, in this presentness, the problem of
death has no meaning.
Paris December 1980
From my observation it seems that attention gets siphoned out by the objec¬
tive world , or the so-called objective world , in moments of very high activity
when a lot is demanded of you. It's like an engine which gets clogged up if it ex¬
pends too much energy. Does this excessive consumption of energy cause at¬
tention to diminish?
Yes, attention diminishes because you are involved in the activity.
You are still in the subject-object relationship. Pure attention is timeless,
and all that is time appears and disappears in this timeless non-state.
But you forget the whole to focus on the part, on the appearance. In
other words, in looking for a result you're identifying with the subject-
object. This outward seeking blocks awareness to awareness itself.
But it seems activity in an everyday sense is always focused on some result.
You go to the bank because you want to draw out money. You don't go there ab¬
That's true. Thought may be functional, it may be calculated. As
long as I must clean my shoes, brush my hair, dress myself, and earn
some money to live on, these are intentional actions, and obviously
we're seeking some result. But we aren't personally involved or emo¬
tionally affected by this. We simply do it.
Essentially there is no division between practical thought, what I
must do, and intuitive thought, for intuitive thought encompasses the
whole situation. But real spontaneous thinking arises only when we
are free from wanting, from expecting and anticipating. This is what
Heidegger referred to as "waiting without waiting." Nothing is
sought. There is only being, only listening without projecting any¬
thing to hear.
Is the establishment of spontaneous thought something that happens gradually?
No. Spontaneous thought arises naturally during our daily life and
we come to a kind of understanding or result. But later we confront
this thought and evaluate it from the subject-object point of view.
Spontaneous thought, spontaneous action, is aesthetic, ethical and
functional. But the ego enters and says, "Let me see if I agree with this
kind of thought," and we put it in some structure, some frame. When
you observe you will see how often you put into question something
you've understood spontaneously.
You once said where there is effort , there is tension. It seems to me tension is
a kind of defense. So when I'm tense , what am I defending myself against?
You defend your image, nothing else. You habitually objectify your¬
self. You live with an image you've created which stimulates sensation
and emotivity. Otherwise there is no need to defend yourself, because
there is nobody to defend. When you are stripped of all qualifications,
what is there to defend? You can't defend your nakedness. In an ab¬
solutely unqualified state, there is freedom, total freedom.
As long as we maintain the subject-object perspective, we move with
intention. But when you realize that what you are can never be objecti¬
fied, you come to stillness, to awareness, wherein spontaneous thought
surfaces. In this moment you can't speak of intentional thought. It may
appear intentional, but it comes out of your timeless position.
Where there is a state of identity-1 look at the flower, I am the flower-
when name and shape disappear, what is it that makes me come back as a
human being rather than as a flower? What is the nature of this link?
But the human being is still a shape and a name; the flower is still
shape and name. Letting go of the shape and name means letting go of
your body and mind. What remains is timeless awareness, which is
what you have in common with the flower. The human being appears
in you just like the flower. When you don't think of yourself as a man,
where is the man?
You are one with all living beings, and these appear in this oneness.
There is distinction, of course, between human beings and other living
beings, but there is no separation. So your body and mind appear in
timeless presence, but they appear only as instruments.
Repetition occurs only in the subject-object position. In other words,
things seem to maintain the same shape, to follow the same pattern,
only because "I" as subject-object look for security. Once this search
for security stops, once you are outside the subject-object position,
you will see that all repetition is illusory.
So in this unqualified state all action appears spontaneously with no refer¬
ence to time and space?
Yes, it appears spontaneously. There is no recapitulation of the past
and no anticipation of the future. But what appears spontaneously
needs time and space for its realization. Suppose you have an intuition
that you must undertake a certain kind of work. First you have the in¬
tuition, and then the realization of this requires time and space, but in
the intuition there is an intelligence which indicates precisely how to
Let's say you're an actor. You read the script for a dramatic piece,
and you understand how it works psychologically, intellectually and
physically. The moment you decide to play a particular role in this
drama, the general psychological background remains in you. You act
out the role in time, from moment to moment, but the climate of this
background is always present. I would even say the climate of this
background is your intuition saying "I must undertake this work."
Intuition is the appearance of a perfect simultaneity of things. It is
outside the ordinary process of thought, because ordinary thinking is
in time. You can never have more than one thought at a time, but you
can intuitively perceive the whole. Afterwards you realize this in the
sequence of space and time. It is like a painter who, in a certain mo¬
ment, sees the whole picture on the canvas. This doesn't mean he sees
all the details, but at least the main elements, the proportions. After¬
wards he realizes the painting in space-time.
There is an intuitive, global view of the creation but sometimes it seems the
actor gets lost in his role and no longer sees the whole drama. When the view is
fragmented how can I come back to the whole?
You mean he forgets the background? Yes, he leaves the background
and so he must come back to it. That is why you mustn't fix this kind of
intuition. You mustn't fix it intellectually. Let it remain a global feeling.
But if you lose this global feeling, this totality, and try to compensate
with memory, then you go wrong. This sometimes happens to artists.
They have an experience of global perception and with this they set to
work composing or painting or writing. If they abandon this feeling of
the whole and compensate with the intellect, with the past, with mem¬
ory, their work often becomes confused. They may even drop it.
It is of utmost importance not to analyze intuition. Don't fix it or put it
in a frame. Don't put any contours around it. Leave it completely open
because it is alive. Of course, the realization of an intuition occurs in
space-time, and requires you to use both your practical brain and body.
But the support of all your action, of all your thought, of all the neces¬
sary documentation, is this intuition lying behind the appearance.
At the beginning intuition may pertain to your behavior and your ac¬
tivities. But a moment comes when you have an intuition of your
whole life, when your whole life, past, present, and future, surfaces.
Like the artist, you don't see the details, but you feel the dynamic ten¬
sion. This tension is not a reaction but something tangible you feel in
the same way you feel the proportions of this room.
When you don't identify with an image, when your observation is
innocent, you feel life come up. But the instant you leave this-the
moment you identify with some image of yourself, as a woman, as a
professional, as having so much money, and so on — in this moment
you are once again living in the vicious circle of having and becoming.
Let's say you spent a week in Switzerland. If you were present with¬
out labelling anything, without drawing any conclusions, then the gen¬
eral impression of the time will come back to you at some point. The
general impression will bring you back to the details. In other words,
you go from the whole to the details. But if you identify with a detail,
you can never return to the whole, for the effort to go back to the whole
is just an intellectual construction, a product of your memory.
When you hear music, when you read poetry, listen to it, read it.
Then aesthetic joy springs up spontaneously. You must completely
avoid the habit of trying to understand it, to affix it. The best position
is to be constantly open, without any conclusions. Situations arise and
action occurs, but in this openness action is perfectly in tune with the
situation. And you may see things you've never seen before.
This current* is very important, for it is beyond the question and the
answer. In fact there's no meaning without this current because you
still remain fixated on your own ideas and images.
And the question arises spontaneously from this current?
* The "current" spoken of is the current existing when there is no longer separation
between beings. In a dialogue of question-answer we usually assume there is someone
who asks the question and another who answers. But as long as we maintain this point
of view, as long as the one asking the question feels separate from the one responding,
both question and answer stay on the conceptual level.
Yes, but put another way we can say that once we are present to this
current, there's no longer any question.
Then the question is a manifestation of this current , isn't it?
Yes. it's a reconfirmation on the verbal level that this current exists.
If we take the case of someone who doesn't have a teacher, or thinks there is
no teacher, can this current arise on its own?
Theoretically yes, but in practice I'd say no. Let's say you notice a fly
in your room. As you follow the fly's movements in space your look¬
ing is innocent, non-calculative, for you don't draw any conclusions.
You simply watch the fly. And as your attention is held for a long time,
you may come to feel yourself observing. You may find yourself in ob¬
servation. This elicits a sense of immense freedom in which one can
come to experience the current.
The teacher doesn't point to the absence of the thinking process. He
points to what is behind the thinking process, behind thought and
perception. He doesn't accent the observed object, the fly in space, but
Generally there is much anticipation in our observation. For while
observing, a result is projected and attention is focused on this object
of thought. But real observation is seeing with no thought of a result
and therefore no tension between observer and observed. In the dis¬
solving of all projection you have the original perception that what
you observe is in you —not outside. And as there is no dynamism be¬
tween observer and observed, you are no longer taken by what you
observe, but by observation itself.
But this kind of experience or current can't be integrated by will. The
moment you try to integrate it, it's already projection. As soon as you
let all end-gaining fade away you will feel yourself spontaneously still
I don't see how one keeps from projecting without this being a willful process.
You must examine why you project, take note of it. You still want to
obtain something. Wanting to obtain arises out of feeling unfulfilled in
Yes, wanting to acquire. And would you say the teacher operates through
surprise? Is surprise the emotion felt when suddenly the teacher says, "not
here but there " or "neither here nor there"?
Or when he says, "nowhere." The moment you say "nowhere," you
feel yourself in oneness. In the moment of non-projection you are in
In the beginning, "nowhere" may seem to refer to an empty screen.
This happens for many of us. If the accent is on this empty screen we
continue to wait for something to occur. But as nothing happens, in
the end we're still hungry.
Don't even put the accent on the absence of something. You must
say to yourself, "I can see this absence only because I am present."
And if you don't objectify this presence as presence, you come to origi¬
nal attention, original silence. The moment you don't put the accent
on the absence, there is an opening, and in this there is a magical ex¬
change between guru and disciple.
Is the nature of this exchange, this current, identity?
Yes. In this moment there's nobody who talks or teaches, and
nobody who is taught. You are completely on the impersonal level.
The concept "many" doesn't exist in oneness, but practically speaking,
you may feel this current more strongly with a group of people than
when you are alone. However, you are entirely taken by this current,
so in this moment there is no more or less.
When this current exists what is the value of words?
What is a word? It's a sound, a symbol. The word is not the ex¬
perience, it only points to it. When the word points to an object, it
crystallizes. But if it doesn't point to an object there is no possibility for
it to crystallize. It's then like a cloud in the blue sky. You are the sky
and clouds might appear, but the sky remains unaffected, uninvolved
in these appearances. Sometimes a cloud appears as a woman, or a
man, or a situation, but still you are always the clear blue sky.
That takes a special kind of listening, doesn't it?
It's a listening without any conclusions, without any reference to the
already-known. When you listen to an explanation of something objec¬
tive, in space-time, understanding is in reference to what you already
know. But if you listen to something completely timeless, listening has
no reference, for there can't be a reference to the non-objective. So what
you hear concludes in you and points back to pure listening.
Doesn't pure listening require trust? When you hear or even read someone's
words, isn't trust necessary?
Yes, but trust is not a belief. Trust is openness, accepting the possi¬
bility. You automatically accept the possibility in a moment of listen-
ing. In pure listening there is neither acceptance nor non-acceptance,
only listening itself.
Then what gets in the way of this? Listening would seem to be the natural
way to respond to life, but something happens so that when you listen you no
longer have that kind of trust. You tend to want to protect your own opinion,
so you can't really hear the other person.
But trusting hasn t a moral touch. It is the same thing as acceptance.
You accept something in order to come to understand it for yourself. As
in scientific procedures, you ask how your neighbor has arrived at his
results and accept the possibility of this second-hand knowledge.
Then you go through the same process, and live it first-hand.
How would you say this happened in your own life? What was the nature of
the relationship between the teacher and yourself?
If one can speak of a step, the first is to inquire into your life. There
must be a recapitulation of your life without any intention to improve
it or to reach conclusions. Just see it, observe it. I'd say this was the
first step that brought me to a teacher, because I hadn't found the
answer for myself in this inquiring process. The teacher provides the
But you can't really look for a teacher, can you? It seems that the teacher just
The teacher comes, yes. Through questioning and reviewing your
life, you may reach a point where you cannot see how to move in any
direction. In this is a ripeness, an openness, a chance for the teacher to
In the moment of interrogation, observation is free from conclusions.
You see your life the way you read a Zen or Chinese poem. There is only
observing without putting any emphasis on an eventual reaction.
If your observation is focused on something, then the main em¬
phasis becomes "What is my reaction to this object?" But if your obser¬
vation has no reference, it remains an inner attitude. Objectless obser¬
vation is an inner position of awareness wherein, we could say, the
observed object recedes more and more, bringing you back to primal
wakefulness. And in this original alertness is a kind of fore-feeling
which draws you to look for somebody. Or traditionally one would say
"Somebody is looking for you."
The teacher provides the perspective, the formulation, or intellectual
explanation. Timeless experience and intellectual understanding work
together in a parallel way. Otherwise it's as if you are walking in clouds.
But at some point the intellectual understanding drops away doesn't it?
The intellectual understanding brings you to the correct attitude to
understand what can never be understood. It evokes an inner attitude
which helps you see that you can never come to objectless con¬
sciousness through the thought process. We could say it takes you to
the helplessness of thought.
Then one grows in awareness. . . . ?
You don't become aware, for you are awareness. Awareness of
awareness comes from awareness itself. The volitional "I" can never
achieve this because the "I" is only thought. So once you see that
thought is helpless to elicit the timeless non-state, you stop all produc¬
ing and projecting, and are still. Stillness is an autonomy wherein
awareness is aware of itself being total and complete. It is not a state
we enter and leave.
Mind continues to appear, but the moment you know yourself as
awareness, you are this throughout all your activities. The non-state is
completely unaffected by the thought process, by activity, emotions or
desires. These come and go, but you are.
We might speak of awareness as a kind of background because at
first you may feel it as if behind you. But this image is not really ac¬
curate, for it gives a direction to what is directionless. It's like the six
surfaces in this room: the ceiling, floor, and four walls. These are
stable. Every object in this room can be changed, but these six surfaces
won't be affected. So objects in space-time may change as clouds
change, as thoughts, feelings and desires change, but awareness, in
being multi-dimensional, isn't touched by these changes.
The six surfaces are the original perception of yourself. So the more
you remain with this original perception, the less you support the
habit of objectifying yourself as a woman or man, as someone with a
bank account and so on. Wanting to be a woman, to fulfill all the attri¬
butes associated with this image, how to behave, how to appear, how
to respond, prevents the real woman from emerging. Once visualiza¬
tion of yourself as a woman stops, all the faculties of the real woman
arise the moment a situation calls for it. Since there is no longer an im¬
age, a pattern to follow, you are open to the whole, thus totally spon¬
taneous and perfectly adequate to every situation.
In an objective relationship, a contact of one object to another, there
is always a tension. This tension arises whenever we desire to be
relieved of insecurity, or lack, and it usually manifests as demanding.
But when you live in timeless awareness, relationship is of an entirely
different order. One could say there is only giving, only radiation.
And the rapport is one of profound tranquillity, a stillness which
becomes tangible in a certain way.
Don't many people go through their whole lives without feeling this? Or can
you feel it without being conscious of it?
You know moments in your life when nothing happens, when
nothing takes shape in your imagination for you to project or antici¬
pate. You are there and nothing happens. You listen to stillness. You
listen to the nothing happening and then a moment comes when this
non-happening brings you back to listening itself. In this presence to
listening there is freedom and completeness, with nothing to add or
subtract. But you must be ripe for it.
When you look for experience, your attention is restricted to a frac¬
tion of the whole. Focusing attention in this way puts the brakes on
life's movement. So when you stop searching for experience, you're
open. Experience is just a mental process. You can see this in moments
when what you are experiencing comes to an end. The lack of any ob¬
ject of awareness brings you back to awareness itself.
In reality an object in itself doesn't exist, for it appears only in rela¬
tion to other already-known objects. But to really know something
there must be no reference to anything else, so that it refers directly to
awareness itself. For an object is an expression of stillness.
If an image comes up in your mind and arouses a sense of conflict,
you should understand this conflict arises because you see the image
from a point of view. But if you don't name it, if you don't fix it, and
allow it to be completely free, the feeling of conflict drops away. It is no
longer confined to an opinion and is seen in its completeness. As you
see this image from the background of the whole, it appears among
many others in a perfect simultaneity, and brings you back to silent
awareness. In this moment there is transformation.
If you try to eliminate conflict through analyzing it, through compar¬
ing this image with other images, it remains a mental process, and the
mind can never change the mind. Transformation occurs when the im¬
age created by a point of view is freed from this restriction, and is seen
in its complete surroundings.
Global seeing has neither subject nor object. You are the totality. You
are no longer in the ordinary mind process, the habit of thought. You
are open to what Rene Guenon calls the "Toute Possibility. In other
words, what psychologists refer to as the unconscious and super¬
conscious come up to the surface. Until this takes place, you remain
only in the vicious circle of your memory.
For example, in observing your body you first feel the surface level
of tension and contraction. As soon as you feel this, you go to a deeper
level, to the original body, where there is no longer complicity to hold
onto something, or to localize yourself somewhere. Once you give
your body the chance to be body, once you stop projecting patterns,
the unconditioned nature of the body comes up in your awareness.
Heidegger calls this way of seeing, "Waiting without waiting" - object¬
In waiting without expectation your real life appears, but you cannot
come to this through wanting it for then it is merely a repetition of
your memory. Awareness is concealed by volition, by remaining in the
process of desiring and becoming.
You must lose yourself in objectless waiting. When you do, you give
up taking, you give up doing, you give up creating. Then life spon¬
taneously creates in you. You live in a completely different current.
But when this happens, there is nobody to whom it happens. In
timeless awareness there is nobody.
California July 1981
Is pain superimposed on silence?
Everything arises out of silence.
So silence is the constant and pain is, in a way, extraneous?
When you speak of pain, somebody feels this pain, a "somebody"
who appears out of silence. Pain is a perception we generally avoid
feeling by a very rapid process of conceptualization. As the concept of
pain and its perception can't occur simultaneously, we must let go of
the idea and feel the pure sensation. In being aware of the sensation,
in being the knower of it, we are outside the pain, or more precisely,
pain appears in our observation, in our ever-present silence.
There are several ways one can deal with pain. Generally we tend to
evade or direct it in some way, but then we are involved in it through
an effort of will. When we simply observe and the pain is allowed to
express itself, the energy fixed as pain becomes fluid. In pure looking
there is nobody, no directing ego, and this energy, finding nowhere to
localize, reintegrates with the whole.
It is important for you to learn how to live with pain. Never concep¬
tualize it. I'll give you an example of what I mean. If you feel tired and
tell yourself, "I'm tired," you instantly identify with fatigue. This iden¬
tification makes you an accomplice to this state, and thereby sustains
it. But if you lie down and allow the fatigue its liberty to speak, it
becomes an object of your observation. And as you are no longer an
accomplice to it, the tired feeling quickly dissolves and you are com¬
I have a pinched nerve in my leg. If lean detach myself from the pain enough
to observe it will this help it to heal?
This nerve in your leg originates between the fourth and fifth verte¬
brae of the spinal column. When there is pressure on this part the first
thing is to free the nerve. So the best procedure is to sit with your legs
stretched out and allow the pelvic area to relax completely. But you
must not be in the movement. Let me explain.
Assume this posture, close your eyes, and let your attention pass
through the body. In this way you can feel where tension is localized.
But don't anticipate any result. Anticipation means the mind is already
somewhere before the feeling has a chance to express itself, so you re¬
main in the idea rather than the sensation. We might call such antici¬
pation "end-gaining." You must not live in end-gaining.
If I close my eyes I cannot tell you exactly where I am because my
body is awake in every part, awakened by its preserved sensitivity. In
every step the end is achieved.
When I wake up in the morning , I often feel there is some thick substance 1
must go through in order to really wake up. Why do I still feel so tired?
When you awaken in the morning, it's the body that awakens in
your awareness. But what we call our body is a pattern inscribed in the
brain, a kind of reflex imprinted there at some moment of our life. At
first this reflex was occasional, then more frequent, until finally it
became fixed. You adopted this pattern and think of your body in
terms of it. It's the same with psychic states. We may awaken and im¬
mediately feel depressed.
Is it also conditioning that makes us think we need eight hours sleep each
As you become more aware, you face daily events and situations in a
non-reactive way and totally live the event as it is happening. Nothing is
postponed so no residue remains in your mind. Because there is no carry¬
over of reaction and tension, your body is completely relaxed when
you sleep and in this state four and a half to five hours is sufficient.
So you need more sleep if you don't live consciously during the day?
Yes. Sometimes what you have postponed during the day comes out
in the form of a dream.
Are dreams necessary?
What we generally call a dream is an elimination of what hasn't been
resolved during the waking state. But if it appears as what in French is
called songe, then it is not elimination. You may see your past or future
come up in a perfect simultaneity, for the idea of living in time and
space is only due to our being trained to think in such terms. Actually,
events and situations appear simultaneously. What you will do tomor¬
row or in four weeks or in four years, is already present. But your
mind has been organized to pick up perceptions successively, so time
appears. It exists only in the human mind. In reality there is no time.
Spiritual teachers often say the world of phenomena appears and disappears
and there is nothing the person need do. But most of us feel the need to control
Why control life? It has no need of control. Life takes itself in charge.
Trying to control life means living in memory, in repetition, in the con¬
tinual process of having and becoming. But once you drop this urge to
control you are without conflict and you are one with the current of
life. Be a spectator to the spectacle. The play goes on but you are in the
audience watching. If you go up on the stage and become involved in
the play, you're lost.
I've never pursued meditation for fear of discovering all I've suppressed. Is
this reaction a sign I should look more deeply into it , or does it mean I'm not yet
mature enough ?
What surfaces during meditation are residues of the past. These resi¬
dues are energy localized through association of ideas, energy mobi¬
lized into fear and insecurity. Remain a witness to all this. In being the
choiceless observer, attention is motiveless, and all conditioning sub¬
sides. You may find that the conscious, unconscious and super¬
conscious come up, but these are not new, they are the past. Let them
emerge, but remain the observer.
Initially the observer is also an object of perception. But later even
this observer dissolves into silence. Then you are this silence, time¬
lessness, in both the presence and absence of time.
Why am I sometimes afraid of silence?
Who is this "I" who is afraid? It is the ego, the image we have of our¬
selves. It dissolves the moment you let it go, the moment you observe
it. Pure observation has no place for the "I" image. So let it go. Be com¬
pletely free of all situations.
It is difficult for me to observe fear when I'm totally caught up in it.
Look at the mechanism of fear. See what is before this fear, what as¬
sociations have brought you to this state. You feel a sensation and
label it "fear." You project an image of an "I" who feels afraid, then
place this image in a dark forest before a huge lion.
The projection of yourself as a man, as a personality, arouses fear
because the personality needs a situation to exist. Many of us prefer to
suffer, prefer prolonging a hopeless condition because this gives the
"I" a place to cling. If the "I" has nothing to grasp, it dies. But we must
become accustomed to dying!
See each situation afresh without referring to a past image of your¬
self. When you stop projecting a person, an image of yourself as a
man, as intelligent, as a certain kind of personality, as having so many
lovers, and so on, what happens? You are still and alert, but not alert to
something. Then the situation doesn't belong to an image but to global
When you are afraid, the "I" is involved in this fear and cannot in¬
tentionally let it go. This I-image drops away the moment fear be¬
comes perception. And as fear needs stimulation from an image to ex¬
ist, when there is no image, there is no fear.
The idea of being an individual and separate identity is incorrect. An
independent identity doesn't exist. You are one with the stars, with
the moon, with animals, plants and stones and with society. You have
no existence independent of the whole.
If the individual doesn't exist, what does?
Thoughts, emotions, and perceptions exist, but there is nothing per¬
sonal in these. The "I" is a convention in human relationship. It exists
as a concept but has no reality.
Accept life. Let it happen. You are not your life, only an observer sit¬
ting in the audience regarding your actor onstage. The actor may play
a hero, or husband, or someone in pain, but he knows he is acting. He
is not identified with the role. It is the same thing in your life.
Then there is nothing to do?
There is nothing to do. When you look deeply you will see that most
"doing" is reaction. Pure motiveless observation alone is empty of
reaction for there is nobody to react. Then every action is spontaneous
from moment to moment.
You must not come to any conclusions in this kind of meeting. The
speaking is more or less a pretext. The real perfume is in the silence.
I don't understand why I feel so uncomfortable in silence .
If you try to be silent, you can't be. Silence is your original nature.
There's no need to try to be what you naturally are. Just notice when
you aren't silent. We can only really speak of communication when we
remain silent. Life's beauty lies in communication, but not the kind oc¬
curring between two objects, two personalities, two images. There's
no meaning, no play, left in a relationship between two images, be¬
tween the idea of being a man and the idea of being a woman.
In silence there's no man or woman, there's only love. Then com¬
munication is communion.
It's so easy to play the role, but . . .
Don't play the role at all. Taking yourself as a man means you must
fulfill so many qualifications: how to present yourself, how to give your¬
self, how to speak, how to act, etc. You've even been educated to think
in terms of being a man, confined by all these labels. The same holds
true when you take yourself for a father or mother. There is no man or
woman, no father or mother. Stop projecting into your surroundings
and let each moment capture you in a fresh way without memory. Look
at things as if for the first time. Be completely undressed, shapeless,
nameless. You are just a beautiful being, nothing more, and this re¬
quires no education. Simply be the beautiful being you naturally are.
If I were to behave that way, I'd feel as if I had no protection, as if I were
Whom would you like to protect? There is nobody to defend.
To come to the insight that you are not the body you first need to find
out what the body really is. The body must become an object of per-
ception rather than just an idea. In most cases when you refer to your
body, you are referring to an image constructed at some time in your
life, a pattern you're accustomed to assuming is your body. But when
you stop projecting this pattern and allow the real body to speak, you
feel all its tension and heaviness. In the very act of clearly seeing the
habitual ideas you have taken to be real, you stand removed from
them, and cease to be an accomplice with the old patterns. You come
to the original body sensation: an emptiness without border or cir¬
cumference. You feel the body to be completely extended in space.
But the body itself isn't a problem. Feeling the real body, the body as
it is, helps you discover a way of looking without projecting. It takes
you beyond the body and a moment comes when localization ends
and the energy previously fixed as "body" dissolves into listening
itself. In other words, because there is no longer a fixed listener or
something heard, the subject-object relationship drops away. There is
When 1 listen to my body and feel a slight imbalance or tension , should 1 just
listen to this or should I take steps to correct it?
Tension arises when you focus on a specific part of the body. This is
functional tension where the global body sensation is concealed by an
idea, by what we refer to as localization. You can never go from this
fractional part to perception of the whole.
As you allow body sensation to emerge, you will feel certain areas
contracted and tense. But if you sustain global sensation, these
become de-localized and re-integrate into the whole. Then the body
appears in its true nature, as energy devoid of tension and memory,
and since there is no restriction, it assumes correct posture effortlessly.
This is the only way to come to the right posture. If you try to achieve
this through effort, if you tell yourself, "I must sit up straight," the
natural posture is blocked by a muscular reaction to this idea. Your body
knows its real position and will invite you back. So let it come to you.
If the body already knows its true position , why do we practice yoga or medi¬
tation to try to find it?
First, accept the possibility that you are perfect. Your body lives in
you, in your original perfection, and of course there's nothing to add
to perfection. But you identify with imperfection. The moment you
see how you constantly feed an image of imperfection, you're outside
There is nothing to do in the way of perfection, nothing to attain.
nothing to hold onto, nothing to achieve. Trying to achieve something
indicates that you're seeing from the wrong perspective, from the er¬
roneous point of view of having left perfection, your original nature.
I would like to understand what pranayama is and why one does this type of
Thinking and breathing are in very close connection. When our
breathing is tense and agitated, thought is as well. Pranayama serves
to calm the breathing process which in turn calms the mind.
Usually inhalation is a volitional process, arousing tension in the
brain and in the shoulder area. So pranayama should be performed in
a relaxed position, without any effort or strain. Let inhalation happen,
but don't inhale.
Even though this breathing technique may be a beautiful exercise,
any attempt to quiet one's thought is purely artificial. Rather than try¬
ing to prevent thoughts from arising, we should take note of those
times when thought naturally comes to a stop.
For instance, when a desired object is obtained, we live a moment of
desirelessness. The dynamism that impels the mind to function
ceases, for there is no longer motivation to think. When thought is mo¬
mentarily peaceful, we return to our original nature, silence. It's the
same with regard to the deep sleep state. "I"-consciousness is no
longer present, so there is absolute silence. Or let us say you are in the
presence of a work of art. In the aesthetic experience the impulse to
think comes to an end, but it stops in a natural way, not through disci¬
pline or will power.
Thinking follows the same functional emergence as walking with
the legs or making use of the arms. When there is no reason to use
your arms, where are your arms? When you have no need to walk,
where are your legs? Equally, the brain begins to function the moment
it is needed, but when there is nothing to think about there is no
thought. Why continue to think? Silence underlies all mental function¬
ing just as it does the three states of waking, sleeping and dreaming.
These are superimposed on silence. They are in time while silence is
Yd like to hear about the experience in your life that made it possible for you
to be here, sharing this joy.
If I were to tell you how I have realized the real being it would only be
a kind of distraction for you because you couldn't do anything with this
information. Your question is mere curiosity. But if you take a good look
at your motive for asking this you will see the root is insecurity.
When the spiritual master I'm studying with shared his experiences with
me, I was affected by the fact that there wasn't an experience that made any dif¬
ference. And this opened many doors for me.
But you touch something more profound the moment you ask,
"What is my motive for asking this?" Behind the question is an image
you have of yourself, an image characterized by insecurity and fear.
Observing this fear places you outside. So the question is a distraction,
a way to escape yourself.
But who is trying to escape?
The person, the "ego," always looking for distraction, asks the ques¬
tion. So make this "I"-image an object of observation. The person is
merely energy projected in space-time; it is discontinuous. Observa¬
tion, in being outside space-time, is continuous. You feel the object,
the person, appear in your awareness and then the desire to identify
with a projected image drops away.
Sometimes 1 have the impression that to communicate with another , I have
to go through the personality , and I'd like to put this personality aside.
You are the knower of this personality as you are the knower of all
your faculties, and yet you identify with the personality rather than
with the knower. Such identification based on pre-conceived ideas
stifles the personality. It becomes unspontaneous, inflexible, and un~
Don't localize yourself in the idea of a personality. It's nothing but
memory. When you live from moment to moment without memory,
the real personality has the opportunity to emerge. It appears in emp¬
tiness, is perfectly appropriate to each situation and the moment the
situation ends it dissolves back into emptiness.
For example, if you locate yourself in the image of a woman you
begin to try to meet all that this image implies. But it's only when the
image is dropped that the real woman lives. So situations occur where
the woman in you appears, but you are not the woman.
There is only consciousness, which you have in common with all liv¬
ing beings. In this silent awareness, distinctions certainly arise but
there is no separation.
We may understand what you are saying right now, but after some time we
forget. Is it helpful to read books or is it better to find things out by ourselves?
Can books help us see the possibility of truths we haven't yet lived?
Books can only be second-hand knowledge, whereas what is essen¬
tial is to come to knowledge first-hand.
Then what can we do to prepare ourselves? Should we meditate on something?
Meditation is not on something, that's not an appropriate formula¬
tion. Meditation means being fully alert and allowing the body-mind
sensation to come to your attention. For example, as you sit here you
may notice certain parts of your body are tense. These parts feel heavy
and tense because other parts are light and relaxed. But concentration
on the tension, on the rigid areas, leads to fixation. So how to proceed?
Become aware of an area that feels light and empty, and like water, let
this sensation expand to include the denser areas.
Are there certain times of the day that are particularly good for observation
of this kind?
Yes, there may be times you are more available. The best time is in
the morning —just upon awakening. It is not you who awaken but the
body that awakens in your awareness. So when you are very alert,
you see the body re-enter its old patterns. The more frequently the
global body becomes a sensation for you, the more organic memory
takes over. During the day, whenever you enter your habitual pat¬
terns of contraction, the organic memory of wholeness brings you
back to the global sensation, and a time comes when you no longer
return to the fractional body image.
You have said we can't accomplish anything through will or effort. Yet if we
let go of effort we may find that nothing happens, that we don't do anything.
But nothing ever happens when you try to make it happen. The very
intention to make an event occur blocks its spontaneous expression.
Intention has its roots in fear and insecurity. So all this conditioned
energy must come to a stop. The mind must go into abeyance. Only an
attitude of non-interference can bring the mechanical memory process
and all its accompanying conditioning to an end. Then original un¬
conditioned energy surfaces.
Generally we know only concepts but we don't know silence. The
value of meditation practice is to help us become familiar with letting
go, with being still. When the mind no longer interferes there is only
silence, and out of this springs creativity. But as long as we stay under
the spell of the will, there is only repetition. When we look at our
friends and our surroundings, we see only our projections, our super¬
impositions, but we don't see the world as it is. So the first step is to
notice that we don't really see, that we project our fears and hopes on¬
to things. To see this you must be still. When one lives this silence
nothing is repetitive and you will be surprised by what emerges.
What motivates us to even begin to look at percepts and concepts as objects?
We are in a constant search for freedom, for some way to transcend
insecurity. This feeling of insecurity or fear is itself the motive to go
beyond it, a process demanding investigation and inquiry. Take note
that in obtaining a desired object there may be momentary freedom
from fear, but the desired object is not really the cause of this. The se¬
curity experienced at such times has no place for an image of an object
or of someone who obtains it. There is only happiness. After you leave
this happiness the ego wants to attribute it to some cause so it says, "I
was happy because I met such and such a person ... I was happy
because I heard some beautiful music ..." and so on.
When you follow this investigation to the end you discover you are
this happiness. You see that in reality we can't speak in terms of cause
and effect, for happiness is causeless. From this moment you sponta¬
neously drop volition and effort. You remain constantly open. There is
no longer a sense of separation and consequently no insecurity or fear.
What do you suggest 1 do with the observation that the basic context of my life
is anger? I'm aware that I'm angry but that doesn't stop it. Sometimes I substi¬
tute some other state , and it goes away momentarily but later on it returns.
When you say, "I'm angry," this anger is a concept and you can't do
anything with an idea of anger. So don't get involved in the concept.
Anger is a perception, a sensation in the body and mind. Remain with
the perception, by which I mean, totally accept the sensation of being
angry. In the moment of acceptance there's no place for someone who
accepts, so complicity with anger automatically stops.
Anger is really only energy localized as a state, an idea. At first it is
localized occasionally, then more frequently until it is constantly pres¬
ent and you're identified with it.
It would be the same with fear?
Exactly the same. When you wake up in the morning and find your¬
self in a certain frame of mind, a state of tension for example, make it
an object of observation. Feel it, accept it. It requires very little to ac¬
cept something but our acceptance is usually only psychological. I'm
speaking here of accepting the actual function, the sensation of the
tension. More often than not we try to escape our sensations. We say,
"I feel afraid," and escape in this idea. Or we phone a friend or read a
book. But when you accept a perception it is no longer fixed, and it
blossoms and dissolves back into your awareness, your acceptance.
When you accept something totally without judging or qualifying, ac¬
ceptance is awareness, and in this, you are completely free. Completely.
It's beautiful, this feeling of freedom that comes in accepting life, ac¬
cepting what you are.
Switzerland November 1981
Is there effort required on this path? Personally 1 find I have less and less
energy to make an effort in any direction.
You can't make an effort without tension. But why do you make an
effort? Only because you're looking for some result, for something
outside yourself. Once you really know that what you're looking for is
your real nature you lose the impetus to strive. So first see how you are
constantly making an effort. As soon as you are aware of this process
you are already outside it. And it may come as an original perception
that you are really stillness.
But doesn't even seeing this require some effort?
No. This seeing is your natural state. Just be aware that you don't see.
Become more aware that you constantly react. Seeing requires no
effort because your nature is seeing, is being stillness. The moment
you're not looking for a result, not looking to criticize, to evaluate or
conclude, just looking, then you can perceive this reacting and you're
no longer an accomplice to it.
In the course of sitting, as the process of emptying out goes on, there comes
this thought, "This is only a thought." But the thought, "This is only a
thought" is a thought too, isn't it?
Absolutely. Seeing itself is not a thought, but at first we only know
this seeing as limited to perceived objects. Later you come to pure see¬
ing without an object. Then there's the insight that you are this pure
seeing and all that is seen appears in you. At this moment seeing is no
longer affected by what it sees.
Focusing attention on something arouses tension. Although there
may be moments of detachment, most of the time you're involved
with what you're seeing. But through the process of looking at some¬
thing you can come to pure seeing without an object. Give the seen
total freedom without attempting to control it. And as the seen is
energy projected onto an appearance in the seer, the moment the seen
is free from localization it dissolves back into the seer, since the seen is
discontinuous while the seer is continuous. The ultimate perceiver is
first found through this relationship between the seer and the seen.
We usually only know the seer through the seen. In moments of
pure seeing we say there is nothing, for we only know ourselves in the
subject-object relationship. But once we are convinced that behind the
seen is the seer and that the seen appears in the seer, then we no
longer put the accent on the seen but on the seer.
Doesn't this set up a goal for someone who's never experienced it? I've never
seen without an object or without projecting my own images onto an object , yet
I know there is a way to see in which I'm not seeing only the images created by
the mind. . . . And then how. . .
To move behind? But you know moments in your life where there is
only pure seeing without anything seen. Let's say you have a problem.
As you go into it, a moment comes when it is completely resolved.
There is complete satisfaction, without any desire to add or subtract
anything. When a desire is realized, you come to a completely desireless
state in which neither the desiring subject nor the desired object are
present. You can't even say there is happiness, for you are happiness.
But after living this, see how the ego steps in to reclaim and objectify the
moment, turning it into a kind of caricature like the clown in a circus
who claims the public's ovation although he wasn't the main performer.
Would you say more about thinking as a defense?
Of course when I say that, I say it very carefully. There is a moment
when you can see that before thought there's a pulsation and the poten¬
tiality of thought is already present in this. The pulsation strikes the
brain and you instinctively look for the symbol, for the formulation.
Can this pulsation still itself before it becomes thought?
Yes, if you're very alert, you can stop at the pulsation. Perceiving
this before it becomes thought reduces the brain's vibrations and
thereby quiets mental and physical agitation.
We should see that both doing and not doing are still doing. This
process of having and becoming only stops when we listen, because
our real nature is listening. The waking state, the dreaming state and
the state of the sleeper are superimpositions on pure listening, which
has no reference to a listener or to something heard. All states appear
in listening. So the more you are present in listening, the more there's
a letting go of doing or not-doing.
Usually when we speak of listening we mean attention to something
in particular. But when I speak of it, I mean listening which refers only
to itself. It's like someone asking, "What do you have in your mouth?"
You say, "Nothing," but really you have the taste of your mouth.
There may be no salt, sugar, or acid in it, but the taste of your mouth is
present. Pure listening has its own taste.
Sometimes I listen to a talk of yours and afterwards find I can't remember a
thing you've said .
When you listen without evaluating or concluding, you can't
memorize it. It comes back to you, but not through the ordinary pro¬
cess of memory. If you try to retain it, what are you keeping? Only the
words, the formulation, and then you listen through a veil of the
already known, through comparison with the past. You must become
innocent in your listening.
When you listen without drawing any conclusions, what has been be¬
hind the listening springs up in a certain moment, perhaps the next day
or in one month or in six months, but this upcoming is not due to any
effort to hold onto it. The real flavor is lost in the memorizing process.
Every so often there are things you say which particularly strike me and
stick in my mind. For example, a few days ago you said, "Stop eliminating. See
that you're constructing all the time." It keeps coming back.
But you've made no effort to remember it. It comes to you.
We can really remember so little in a conscious way. Think about all
the experiences you've had during your life and how few of these you
actually recall. You've even forgotten the feeling you woke up with
this morning, or what you ate yesterday, or what you were thinking at
three o'clock today.
As the brain vibration decreases it's possible to remember things
which have been forgotten by the ordinary memory. At a very low fre¬
quency, the individual can even return to a previous incarnation. But
these kinds of experiences are more or less distractions, ways of giving
sustenance to the idea of the person. For despite a reduction in brain
frequency we continue to identify with the ego. On the other hand,
tension still arises when one has realized the Self. But someone who
knowingly lives in the Self is out of the becoming process, so his brain
and body functions are quite different from those of a person who
hasn't realized the Self.
And do his senses function differently?
Generally, all our senses function through grasping. The mind pro¬
jects something outside to be seized by the senses. In reality there is
nothing outside our awareness.
When we first see a bird, there's pure perception, but afterwards we
conceptualize it. The moment there's conceptualization the perception
is no longer present, because a concept and a percept cannot exist
simultaneously. If you drop the concept, what remains? Your identity
with the bird. But this identity is not a mental image of oneness. It is a
But in the moment of unity you're one with everything , aren't you? Or can
you just be one with the bird and not one with everything else?
You are only being. When you let go of the shape and name of the
man that you see, what remains? The real man appears, and in this
there's oneness. The instant you let go of the shape, you let go of the
body. When you let go of the name, you let go of your mind. So only
being remains, and being is indivisible. It's the current we spoke of
before. When this current is present, there's no longer fixation or
repetition, only the ebb and flow of creativity.
London November 1982
When we speak of silent observation we refer to a way of listening, a
way of seeing, which allows the observed its full, unqualified expres¬
sion. In the process of listening, you may discover that the observer is for¬
ever judging, criticizing, comparing and evaluating. This insight alone
takes you to a position where you are uninvolved in the perceived. Then
a feeling of space opens out between your observing and the observed,
eliciting the understanding that the perceived arises in you but you are
not limited to anything perceivable. Silence is our real nature.
Then is thought itself the root of the problem?
Generally we only know ourselves in perceptions, in states. We only
know consciousness of something, listening to something, and so on.
We don't know pure consciousness without an object.
Thoughts, feelings and sensations are objects of consciousness, and
have no existence without the observing subject. Since the perceiver
can never be perceived, the moment a thought or perception points
back to the perceiver it brings you to silence, to pure being, to con¬
sciousness without an object.
Then what is the perceiver?
The perceiver is a faculty, a qualification, which exists the moment
there's a perception in space-time. Without the perception, there is no
perceiver either. Both are movements of energy in space-time, and
both arise out of and dissolve back into consciousness, which alone is
The perceiver and the perceived are more or less tools, instruments
of consciousness. All that appears is an expression of consciousness.
I find really , if I look closely , that in desiring realization I am looking for fun¬
damental unity or security, peace if you like , euphoria if I'm lucky. . . . Does
the pure consciousness you speak of have any of these qualities?
No. What you are looking for is only memory, something you
already know about and evaluate as desirable. All these things you
name are attributes, superimpositions on pure consciousness. There is
a deeper understanding to be gained when you see that in the moment
of obtaining the desired quality, there is neither a quality-object nor an
experiencing-subject. In this moment there is only unqualified one¬
ness. It's only after leaving this unity that you look for a cause and say,
'The cause of this joy was this quality I have achieved." But in the mo¬
ment of living oneness, there is no place for any quality, for any object
And this oneness is our real desire?
It is our real desire. All other desires appear more or less through
lack of discrimination. Desire is a striving for compensation, a search
for a way to fill a sense of emptiness in yourself. So when, for a mo¬
ment, this striving ends and the desired object is obtained, there is an
instant when you live in oneness, in ultimate contentment, but this
contentment is without a cause. And this instant can't even be called
an instant because it is timeless.
What then is karma, which is produced by cause and effect?
The moment you live without any programming, without an image
or an idea of being someone, there is no karma. To whom would the
karma belong? Put away the problem of karma. Completely let go of it.
This idea gives you a hold on the existence of a somebody who doesn't
exist. When you are completely still, where is the image of being
somebody? When the reflex to identify with an image goes away there
is the certainty that a personal entity doesn't exist. There is only one¬
ness. Then you are free from karma because karma belongs to some¬
body. But when you add an image of a personality, of a man, of being
this or that, in this moment you are bound to karma.
Could you give a concrete example of what it means to identify with an image?
Take note that from morning to night you search constantly for locali¬
zation. You have a need to localize yourself somewhere, whether in a
body sensation, an emotion, or in an idea. But when you accept that you
can't find yourself, your real Self, within any perception, the production
process ceases. You stop creating ideas, images and situations.
You must live in openness without any memory. This means you are
completely open to life, to whatever comes. And since in this openness,
there is no memory, no reaction, you are completely alert at each mo¬
ment to the freshness and newness of life. There is no more repetition.
Is the closest experience to the silence you speak of the feeling and content¬
ment of love?
Silence is the background of all that happens, all that appears and
disappears. It is unqualified love, love that has no need of any stimula¬
tion. It stimulates itself by itself.
The moment you live knowingly in oneness, there are no "others."
There's only Self. This is love. But when you take yourself for some¬
body, all relationships are from object to object, man to woman,
mother to son, personality to personality. And there is no commu¬
nion, no possibility for love.
You say we must accept ourselves, our bodies, capacities, personality and so
on. What happens after that?
When you have really accepted yourself—and I mean accepted in a
functional, not a psychological way - you will feel a space between
your accepting position and whatever you accept. This sensation of
space between your real nature and your projected image is very im¬
portant. In accepting all that appears, you are free from it. At first you
feel free from what you accept. But later you'll find yourself in accep¬
In acceptance is there any notion of good or bad?
Good and bad are projections from pre-conceived ideas, from
memory. Stop projecting your desires and fears onto the seen. Take
things as they are. You must accept something in order to really know
it. In accepting, the accent is not on what you accept but on the accep¬
ting position itself. You will come to find you are one with accepting.
The acceptor is not an object. It is an inner reality. Acceptance gives
freedom to whatever is accepted. What you accept really becomes
alive and has its own story to tell you. But the problem here is not just
to accept your personality, your "landscape." This is simply a pre¬
liminary way to get through to the essential experience, the attitude of
But in life it's necessary to make decisions. How can we do this if we don't
You can really only make decisions when you accept the situation.
In acceptance the situation belongs to your wholeness, your com¬
pleteness, and the decision comes out of this global perspective.
There's nothing passive about this accepting. It is ultimate alertness.
And the decision that results is an action, not a reaction.
The moment you live in openness and let every situation come to
you, you flow with the real current of life. If you impose the ego on
every happening in order to somehow control it, you find that you are
not in accord with this life-current. Reaction and struggle set in; you
say, "I have this and I'd like that." This is a state of conflict. In accep¬
tance you simply live here where you are.
You said the other day that first one knows objectified silence and later one
comes to real silence which is not within the subject-object relationship. How
does one go beyond objectified silence?
By objectified silence you mean an absence of thought, what we call
the "blank state"? Yes, an absence of thought is still an object, but you,
as the ultimate subject, are the knower of the absence of thought. So
you ask how to go beyond any subject-object relationship, how to
come to the absence of the absence.
Let us say you are aware of a particular body sensation. You feel
your body is warm or cold, or you feel a certain emotional state. The
moment you are conscious of a perception, you are automatically out¬
side it, meaning there is no longer any involvement or identification
with the perceived. In this sense of non-involvement or "letting-be,"
you may become aware of silence. But this blank state, this absence of
thought, is still an object of which you are aware.
So the question may arise, "To whom does this blank state belong?"
When this question comes up, there is a stop. And there comes a spon¬
taneous switch-over from accenting the blank state, the object, to ac¬
centing the perceiver, the subject. And as the perceiver is without an
image, as the perceiver can never be perceived, you find nothing to
refer to. You are totally open, open for a response. You are now at the
threshold of being.
The accent is on awareness itself and the object, the blank state, dis¬
solves into awareness. There is no longer a subject, an observer, and
an object, the state observed.
For this to happen there must be unqualified observation, an obser¬
vation free from all reaction. Up to now you know only observation of
something. But you may come to really live an observation without
anything observed. Then what we call the observer loses its attribute
as observer, and is pure being.
We are very accustomed to maintaining this relationship of subject-
object; observer and things observed. But we must accept the possi¬
bility that there can be observation without any observed object, that
there is an alert stillness without any perception. You may first come to
this in meditation.
In meditation you are first aware of something, of your thoughts,
your emotions, or of your body. You may notice you are not really in
touch with your body, that, instead, you are contacting a projection, a
schema inscribed in your mind. And you also note that you are the
producer of this schema. With this insight, production stops.
We can speak of meditation as a moment of non-interference wherein
we see how attached we are to producing sensations just to give the "I" a
foothold. In granting the perception full expression, the body takes itself
in charge. It reveals the conditioning, it tells you its real nature. In other
words, you give it the opportunity to be a body because previously it was
a defense, a habit. And you'll observe a new body sensation you have
never known before, the original perception of your body.
The body, like every object, is an expression of awareness in space-
time. So in the moment free from interference, all energy previously
localized in a body sensation returns to its origin, dissolves back into
awareness, and there is only stillness.
How do I remain conscious in deep sleep when I feel simply unconscious?
The image is no longer there, but you are. We are unconscious of ob¬
jects because there are no objects, but deep sleep is a state like any
other state we enter and leave. When we are immersed in these states
we forget the ultimate perceiver —consciousness. Deep sleep refers
only to the body and mental faculties. Consciousness never sleeps.
If consciousness never sleeps , how is it that we're not aware of deep sleep as a
perception in the same way we're aware of the blank state?
In the waking and dreaming states we are aware of objects. In deep
sleep there is no object. But still, in all three states we are not aware of
our awareness. It's a forgetting.
But I would like to be conscious or aware . . .
In the non-state? Yes, you will become conscious in the non-state.
Yes . . . when?
Don't ask when. It is the only obstacle between you and awakening.
You know the story about King Ashoka and his guru? One day King
Ashoka said to his Guru Vasishta, "Last night I dreamt I was a beggar.
Now tell me, am I King Ashoka dreaming I am a beggar or am I really a
beggar dreaming I am King Ashoka?" Vasishta replied, "You are
neither this nor that. You are the Self." King Ashoka cried for joy, "I
am the Self!" But Vasishta replied, 'That is your only obstacle."
Is the desire to move into the non-state an obstacle?
That desire itself proceeds directly from the non-state. So how to
become convinced the desire comes only from the non-state and not
from any outside stimulus. Is that your question?
Desire arises when you feel yourself in restriction. So we should in¬
vestigate some moment when you feel unrestricted, desireless, com¬
pletely free. In this moment of desirelessness, there is fullness, and
this fullness has no room for an image of a person or a desired object. It
is beyond the limits of the subject-object relationship. But after leaving
this silence, the "I" jumps in and claims this "experience" for himself.
He says, "J have had an experience of happiness and the cause of it
was my new car . . . my new situation . . . my new wife." But later on
the new wife or car may leave you completely indifferent. Isn't this the
proof that the non-state without desire is not really linked to any ob¬
ject? And then you come to the conviction that desirelessness is your
real nature, that nothing "outside" can bring you to the non-state. This
is a very important understanding.
In contact with one who lives in the non-state and is wholly autono¬
mous, you may feel this autonomy as a state of quietness, of non¬
agitation, which triggers off a re-orchestration of your energy. And as
your habitual state of agitation conceals the non-state, this brief period
of non-agitation may give you a fore-taste of your own autonomy.
Isn't any attempt to remove agitation only adding to it?
Agitation occurs when we look for something. And the more intense
this search, the further we go from what we are really seeking. That
you must see. You go away . . . because there is nothing to find. Don't
try to be in the non-state. Don't try to be the ultimate perceiver. Don't
try to be the witness of what is perceived. You are that already. Free
yourself from trying.
You speak of a feeling of restriction as the origin of desire. Could you talk a
little more about this feeling of restricted-being?
We have a habit of wanting to feel ourselves, to locate ourselves some¬
where. So we create a certain schema. We identify with a body sensa¬
tion or an emotional state or an idea. This need for localization keeps us
in restriction, and all our actions and reactions are according to a kind of
self-programming. See how this functions in your daily life.
The very awareness of this habit, the reflex to seek a support, to
locate yourself somewhere, is already a distancing, a "stepping back"
from the perception. We might say you step back into stillness, the ori¬
ginal perception of completion.
The desire, provoked by what you call "restricted being," by identi¬
fying with what you are not, springs directly from what you most long
for: to be free and harmonious, to no longer feel separate, to be one
with life. So lose yourself in this longing, and it will take you to what
you really desire, oneness.
You may lose the relative support, but the real support will find you.
Sometimes I am drawn to localization in the body by a physical sensation of a
vibration that never stops. Should I surrender to it?
No, for in surrendering you become passive. You must remain com¬
pletely alert. You can distinguish between times when you are involved
in a sensation and times when you are the observer, when you stand
outside. In being aware of the sensation, you may notice a space be¬
tween your observation and what is observed. This space arises when
there is no attempt to intervene and control the seen, or in other
words, when the sensation is totally accepted. In accepting the per¬
ception without the interference of the ego you may feel the percep¬
tion lives in you.
When you wake up in the morning, it's the body which awakens in
your awareness, in global consciousness. Sleep refers to a sleeper, and
from the sleeper's point of view, of course, there's sleep. But in reality,
consciousness never sleeps. Many of our modern psychologists
believe the moment a perception appears, consciousness appears.
And the moment the perception dies, consciousness also dies. They
ignore the reality continually present between two perceptions. In¬
stead they think consciousness has blanked out. But to speak of a
blank state demands something be present to take note of it. So who
takes note? What we call consciousness without an object, oneness,
doesn't exist for modern psychology.
As a child I was always watching myself think. But that kind of observation
seems different from what you are speaking of because it was always accom¬
panied by a feeling of loneliness.
Don't go back to the past. See how you function now. Just see there is
fear in you, but don't try to explain or analyze it. Bring it back to the
original perception, to its localization in the body, and give it total free¬
dom. Don't direct it, or refuse it or escape it. Give the perception full
opportunity to be perception.
There are so many parts of your body you don't feel. You may be
surprised to discover you don't feel the area of your shoulders or neck.
Allow these areas to expand, to become only sensation. And then the
area where fear was localized is no longer confined to a fractional part
but re-integrates into the global body sensation.
If the body we see is not our real body , what is?
The body is only energy. The moment there is tension, the moment
there is reaction, this energy becomes static, fixed as a form of defense.
Awareness dissolves this fixation.
Isn't it necessary to have a concept of the non-state in order to recognize it
when it is experienced?
First, accept the possibility of the existence of a non-state. Next,
listen to someone who lives this. Then go through the perspective he
teaches so that what has been heard second-hand becomes first-hand.
If we are speaking in terms of knowledge of objects, we proceed
through comparison. For example, I mention a mango and if you've
never had a mango, you may ask, "What does it taste like?" I might say,
"It tastes like a combination of a peach and a plum." So, fusing these
two ideas, you hit, more or less, upon the taste of a mango. This is
possible in the case of objective knowledge, knowledge of experiences.
But here we are speaking of what is essentially beyond any ex¬
perience, because it is not in time and space so comparison with any¬
thing previously known is not possible. Your listening must be un¬
conditioned, innocent, in order to accept what is said here and make it
When you leave today, don't try to remember or understand any¬
thing. The very attempt to understand confines you to the memory
process, and impedes the manifesting of the unknown. Take what I
tell you and live with it, like you live with your children or your favo¬
A time will come when there is an understanding of the perspective:
that what you are can never be an object of perception and that this
non-state is not found through any state. This understanding is in¬
stantaneous. It generates a re-orchestration of all your energies, and
provokes the fore-feeling of that which you really desire. Inherent in
this presentiment is the understanding that there is simply nothing to
do. Whatever you would like to achieve is already achieved. Then agi¬
tation stops, and what had been concealed by agitation comes to light:
stillness. You find yourself in a completely new dimension.
What does that really mean?
Even when we understand the functioning of all this, we may not
act according to this understanding in our daily life. Think about how
you live your life. You live your life, your doings and relationships the
way you live around your furniture, not seeing it anymore because
you've grown used to it. It's very interesting to really see what is
meant by acting according to your understanding.
Be awake, attentive without tension, free of any strategy or inten¬
tion. When you aren't living from memory, there is no repetition. Your
seeing is completely new. Stillness never leaves us. We leave it.
What do you mean by "multi-dimensional awareness”? Is this when one is
simultaneously aware of what is going on inside and outside oneself?
Awareness, in not belonging to space-time, is neither inside nor out¬
side. Your body, mind and senses, like all your surroundings, appear
You must see how involved you are in perception. Notice the dif¬
ference between these moments of involvement and other times when
you are detached. When you look at something or listen to something,
attention is directed, motivated and limited. Our brain has been condi¬
tioned to instantly label whatever comes to its attention so that we see
only the name and form. When we are free of conditioned responses
our receptivity is multi-dimensional, global, and the perception is
freed to dissolve in this totality.
So the naming process limits perception?
As soon as you qualify an object with a name and form, you're in¬
volved in it. But when your attention is open, the object appears in
your awareness. You feel a space between silent observation and the
observed and this spatial relationship frees the energy hitherto localized
by the conceptualizing process. So you are simultaneously aware of
the object, which lives in you, and of your own awareness.
The first step is to become aware of yourself in everyday life. Get ac¬
quainted with seeing and living without qualifying, without putting
labels on the seen. Once the reflex to interfere in the observed drops
away and perception is no longer directed or confined, it becomes
alive, borderless, multi-dimensional. In this openness there is no per¬
sonal identity, no image of somebody, only total freedom. It can never
be sought or achieved, for it is your very nature, to which all percep¬
In one of your talks you said there is unity of selfhood among all living be¬
ings. I find this difficult to understand , for it is my experience to see the forms
and appearances of separate selves.
We could say when you first meet someone you really meet yourself,
for the emptiness in you is the emptiness of all living beings. Objects
appear in this space, but the space itself is unaffected. When you leave
the awareness of being, all relationship, if we can still speak of rela¬
tionship, is between object and object. But an object needs an agent,
consciousness, to exist. As it has no autonomous existence, an object
always lives in insecurity. So in such a relationship each object seeks to
feel secure, to feel loved. There is only prehension, only self-interest.
Each is looking for something to take from the other.
So the personality , in being an image , has no independent existence?
What we generally call our "personality" is actually memory, a local¬
ization for the "I"-image, a shelter to preserve the ego. The moment
you identify with the personality, it becomes static, crystallized, and
loses all flexibility. But in stepping out of this identification, you take
your position in spaceless awareness and the real personality
emerges. It appears in the moment of facing a situation and disappears
the moment the situation ends. It's a tool, nothing else.
What exactly is memory?
Memory is a way of thinking. It is a thought. When you really go into
it, you'll see thought is always in the present. You may label it as
"three years ago," but the labelling is in the present. There is no yes¬
terday. We might say memory is a state of mind.
In living silent awareness you no longer try to retain or remember
anything. You're open to universal mind, to what we call universal
So that's how one can speak out of silence, without referring to thought or
memory. But we must wait for silence to come to us?
I would say live with the perspective of silent observation. Let it be the
background of all your life. It's like the creative artist. A painter is
always a painter from moment to moment. He lives in the painter. He
sees the painter. The musician hears the musician from moment to mo¬
ment. So you must live constantly with this silence as your background.
A musician uses his instrument as a tool to help him create. Is there no tool
we can use to awaken us to silent awareness?
A musician sees life through music, a painter through painting, and a
poet views life through poetry. The art reflects the artist's silent observa¬
tion. So we use the objects at our disposal to point us back to silence.
And these are our body, senses and mind. We use them as the musician
uses his instrument, to help us become aware of our awareness.
Be the explorer of your body, your feelings and desires, your moods
and psychic states. Drop all ideas about what you are. Live without
knowing anything, like an explorer, for the adventure of discovery,
from moment to moment.
In this exploration you'll see that you don't really observe, that you
project your fears and desires and superimpose these onto the world.
So all you see is your own conditioning, not the world as it really is.
The awareness, the understanding of how you really function, not just
psychologically but on every level, is itself transformation. If you try to
make any voluntary changes all you are doing is shifting energy
around a little and making things momentarily more comfortable for
yourself. In the attitude of openness and exploration you automatically
Can yoga be a help in self-awakening?
When you tune a musical instrument it is the listening that brings
you to the perfect tuning and to the perfect playing. In the same way
only listening brings you to the perfect posture and to the re¬
harmonization of all your dispersed energies. This listening already
places you in the frame of silent awareness.
If you practice yoga to achieve something, you leave this frame.
Then yoga can become an obstacle, for it may generate the belief that
what you fundamentally are is a goal you can attain through some sys¬
tem of progress. And this belief in progress takes you further away
from yourself. Let go of this need to find security through an image.
When all production stops, you come to know what you are not. Ref¬
erence to the past and to all preconceptions comes to an end, and
you're brought back to the frame of silent listening.
I sometimes think my mind is still , although it's evidently a thought that
thinks this. How can this game come to an end?
You are not the mind. Mind is function. It appears in you. It may
have moments of quiet, but its nature is movement. You must distin¬
guish between movement and agitation. Then notice how you con¬
stantly feed this agitation.
Rather than trying to quiet the mind, it might be easier to start from
the body sensation. A calm body has a stilling effect on the mind, for
body and mind are one. Investigating the body familiarizes you with
its contractions and defenses. In making these objects of observation,
you become detached, and the original body sensation has an oppor¬
tunity to emerge.
But observation of the body is just a pretext to bring you to the frame
of pure observation. The emphasis must not be on the object of per-
ception, but on the perceiver. As we've said before, the object points
back to the perceiver, and as the perceiver can never be perceived, you
find yourself in observation. You feel yourself in emptiness, without
center or periphery.
Why does the body become sleepy when the mind is quiet?
Your silent awareness is not wholly realized. You are still involved in
the body and in your perceptions. Only in absolute autonomy do you
remain continually clear and awake, for consciousness never sleeps.
What do you mean by the word "intuition"?
Generally what we call intuition or intelligence or insight is still a
faculty of the mind, still influenced by the fractional point of view of an
"I," hence not a global vision.
Real intelligence or insight issues from the Self. In other words, ac¬
tion springs directly out of silence without the intervention of mind or
ego, thought or memory. Intelligence belongs to the totality, to silent
awareness. It comes from taking note in a non-judgmental way of the
various circumstances of your life. Taking note brings you to a stop,
and in this stopping there is no longer any reference to your surround¬
ings. You are completely still, so all out-going energy returns to its
origin and silent awareness knows itself by itself. Knowing oneself by
oneself is intuition.
How does scientific knowledge relate to this? Is there any place for this type
Scientific knowledge pertains to objects. It is very interesting to see
what happens before you think that you know an object. Before you
say, "I know it," you are really one with the object. Afterwards you
say, "I know it," and at this moment the knowledge is objectified.
A scientific thinker has moments of oneness just like a person seek¬
ing truth, but the truth-seeker remains in truth, while the scientist ob¬
When you live in silent awareness , does the aggressive survival instinct leave?
For example , if you are in a concentration camp , you might not fight for a piece
of bread because you would see that giving up the body is of no importance?
You don't have any strategy. You haven't any one way of behaving.
So you don't predict behavior. Action occurs from moment to mo¬
ment, according to the situation, and it is always appropriate.
So depending on circumstances, you might give up your life or you might not?
There is no repetition. Only the mind, memory, the ego, looks for
repetition, for security, and this security is found in the past. But there
is no image of an "I" in silent awareness, so there is no repetition.
In reality there is no actor. There is action, but nobody who acts.
After the action, the mind enters and says, "I have done it," but this is
completely wrong. So after something has been done, don't say "I
have done it." You could say instead, "I have been a witness to the do¬
ing, but I am not the doer."
What if you are the ivitness to yourself killing someone? How are you respon¬
sible for the action? I have no experience with killing, but what if I'm watching
myself being unkind? If I say, "There has been an action that has hurt someone,
but I am not the actor," don't I deny all responsibility for this action?
Notice that you're unkind. The moment there is observation that
you are unkind, you'll feel completely impersonal. In this impersonal
moment, action spontaneously arises. But what form the action may
take, I can't say.
Is awareness the Self or a function of Self?
It is not a function for it doesn't belong to the brain. When I speak of
awareness, I mean an openness void of memory, spaceless, non-
localizable, without an object. It is perception with continuity, and it is
What is intentional thinking as opposed to what you call spontaneous thinking?
Intentional thinking is motivated and the motive is to find yourself
somewhere else. You feel insecure, so you switch to another image, to
another place which appears more secure. Intentional thinking is
always looking for security in projection, in imagination. Imagination
arouses feeling in you which stimulates a process of chemical change.
But don't try to evade it. See it, because the moment you see it you are
completely outside it, and this brings you to a standstill. The instant
you experience this standstill, all your perception refers back to it for it
is fullness. Only then can transformation occur.
But you must understand how this works very clearly. Don't be
deceived. Sometimes you may feel detached from something but the
detachment is a kind of fixation. It is an idea. Pure seeing is motive¬
less, without concentration and tension. It is truly multi-dimensional.
In seeing which is free from all conceptualization the cage dissolves
and the yellow bird is freed. What is seen comes into its own and finds
its real significance in the seer because the seen is contained within the
seer, while the seer is free of the seen.
Is knowledge an object?
Being knowledge is not an object. In reality there is no object. It's a
name we give to an expression of consciousness in space-time. Form
and name make the object. If you put away the name and shape
there's only consciousness.
Then is this being knowledge an experience?
If we take the word in its philosophical significance, no, it is not an ex¬
perience. It is life. Experience belongs to memory, to the known, to
time. Experience is discontinuous — otherwise how could we call it an
experience? Living consciousness is outside space and time and there¬
fore continuous. Being knowledge is not an experience, but since our
language is dualistic we often speak of the non-experience as an ex¬
Do you feel this technique of asking questions and receiving answers about
the nature of consciousness, that is, using words, is the best way to come to the
The question is heard in silence and the answer comes out of silence. If
you put the emphasis on the words, on the syntax, you lose the real fla¬
vor. It's not a technique. All non-objective teaching proceeds in this way.
But what is important is learning how to listen. If you listen only to
the words, you remain in the mental realm. When you stop putting
the accent on what is said, when you stop seeking some result, listen¬
ing is stillness. It is all-encompassing. The moment you stop empha¬
sizing the words, what is heard strikes your real nature.
Are you telling us to listen without using our ears?
When I speak of listening I don't mean listening with the ears, just as
when I speak of seeing I don't mean with the eyes. Listening has no
such restriction. You hear with the ears, of course, but what you take
in through the ears goes immediately to your awareness. As there's no
projection of a result, you're completely open. So when you hear
music, for example, you hear it with your whole body.
Does understanding come automatically with listening?
One must become accustomed to listening. At first you'll see that
you don't listen. You may think you're listening, but it's similar to
coming into this room and only seeing the edge of the carpet. You
think you're seeing the whole carpet, but actually you only see the
edge, and complete the rest with memory.
A child sees a fraction of a table and asks his father, "What is that?"
His father replies, "It's a table," so the child learns the name of this ob¬
ject. As he can't see the whole object immediately, he goes from edge
to edge, in short glances. The experience of the whole table might re¬
quire twelve glances, with each glance, each fractional point of view,
merging with the next. The child learns about objects in this way. But
as an adult, when you enter this room and see a portion of the carpet,
you instantly assume it's a carpet.
What can I do to listen more deeply? I try but keep getting distracted.
There's no fixation in listening, only completeness. Nothing is out¬
side the listening. If this listening is sustained, and you recall your
body sensation, you won't find the sensation because the body is com¬
pletely expanded in space. You feel yourself unfurnished, free from all
objects. And what you're listening to finds its significance in your lis¬
tening because listening is totality, fullness. You come to direct per¬
ception. There's no longer an agent.
There's nothing to know then , because we're already there but we forget, and
play around in objects.
Objects are too attractive to us. But sometimes you remember and
come back. It demands a kind of maturity. When you take a child to a
market at Christmas he's attracted to all the toys and forgets about his
mother. But a moment comes when he suddenly remembers his
mother. It's the same with you.
What do you mean by maturity?
In your life circumstances may arise which are unusual for you, and
for which you have no past reference. As you question these events,
you hear a response that doesn't come from your memory. Question¬
ing your life, your actions, your fears and desires brings you to a cer¬
tain ripeness. But there must be maturity for understanding. You must
be ready to receive it. The solicitation is always present from moment
to moment, but it passes you by because it requires a certain readiness
to capture it.
Once you awaken to ultimate reality; are you permanently there? Do you
ever return to the dream state which is the world most of us live in? Do you
ever go back into any states?
States appear in you. The three states of waking, dreaming and
sleeping live in you, while you are completely free.
So the experience of the world through sensory and conceptual perception
continues , but despite its attractiveness nothing dislodges you from reality?
Every object points to the ultimate. If we speak of reasons, we can say
the only reason for the objective world is to point to the ultimate.
While every object points to the ultimate, there are some which point
especially such as those found in art, music, painting, sculpture,
poetry, and so on. Art or beauty is a jubilation of the ultimate to itself.
In true love is there any emotion?
The word "emotion" for me, belongs to the Self, whereas emotivity
and affectivity are states belonging to the ego. Emotivity and affectivity
are always taking, while emotion and affection are giving.
But giving implies receiving , doesn't it? Giving to whom?
There's nobody, only affection, only love.
^ of images you live with each day is practice. Seeing your body in
defense, in reaction, is practice.
Does a person living in the timeless dimension have a sense of purpose?
One who lives in silence is purposeless. He accomplishes whatever
must be accomplished. Once could say there is spontaneous purpose¬
Why is it so difficult to allow silence into our lives?
It's difficult because you project a notion of easiness.
As you become familiar with silent observation, you see that you sel¬
dom observe without judging or evaluating. Just seeing this puts you
outside the process. Be increasingly aware of this moment of being
"outside," of non-involvement. Cease to be an accomplice to the
mechanisms of comparison, evaluation and judgment and they will
diminish through lack of fuel. Finally, a certain standstill will occur
and this stopping brings you back to your true nature, to silence, for it
belongs to silence. Here is the real transformation when you live in the
1 can listen to you here , but my problem is the lack of motivation to apply this
Ask yourself what brought you here tonight. What was your motive
for coming here? It could be that in your room you felt something
missing. Perhaps you felt a lack of freedom, a desire for peace. But
isn't coming here an escape? Aren't you putting off what could be
done at any moment, namely facing this lack?
Look at it, but look without searching for compensation, without at¬
tempting to control it, without wanting to change anything. Go to
meet this lack without trying to justify it. In the moment of seeing,
projection stops. The memory process comes to a halt. You find your¬
self in silence, in freedom, in peace.
You have postponed what could have occurred in your room. Don't
find reasons to postpone what you can be now.
Is it postponement to think in terms of following a practice?
Looking into yourself is practice. Seeing precisely the various kinds
Does any benefit come from being with a group of people observing silence?
It's true being with others in silence brings a certain encouragement.
In any case, it's beautiful to share silence. It's a completely new way of
communicating. I would even say it's the only real communication,
because in silence there are not many, there is only one.
Doesn't the reasoning process disturb silence?
When you stop looking for a result, you come to the end of reason¬
ing. The thought process comes to a moment of helplessness and
drops away. What remains is silence.
Is there a right work or livelihood for each person?
When you observe, you'll notice how large a part compulsion and
affectivity play in the way you act and react. You are always wanting to
find yourself, to locate yourself somewhere. But awareness itself
already creates space between you and action. This space is detach¬
ment, lack of personal involvement. It brings you back to your center,
and then relationship with your environment is entirely different. You
continue to work, but you are no longer involved. If you clean houses,
or work on cars, if you're a doctor or lawyer, there is no difference. You
do things because they must be done.
Can a spontaneous course involve voluntary effort at certain times? For in¬
stance, I may spontaneously decide to build a house. Then I have to compose a
program as to how to carry out this project. What are the signs of departing
Of course there's a technical, practical part to building a house, but
this too belongs to spontaneity. In other words, there isn't separate
technical, calculative and functional thinking. There's just thinking,
and this thinking belongs to spontaneous action, to silence.
We can really speak of right action when observation is entirely im¬
partial. In a disinterested attitude, you remain impersonal, and all ac¬
tion flows from the whole, from the Self.
What if there is a spontaneous decision to buy a certain house , but you
haven't the money for it?
Unconditioned observation encompasses the global situation. This
means you are aware of your capital, your capital as energy, as per¬
sonality, as intelligence, as money. And you're also a perfect ad- ____
ministrator of this capital because you know its precise nature. You California December 1985
would never buy a house which costs more than your capital. ___
Do moral questions arise when one lives this silent awareness? Supposing
one finds oneself working in an armaments factory?
Let's approach your question indirectly. To realize who you really
are requires self-acceptance, but this acceptance has nothing to do
with psychological reasoning. Get acquainted with your personality,
your intelligence, your body tensions. Notice your pattern of emotivity,
how cyclical are your states of mind. Such unbiased observation
demands an open acceptance in which you feel yourself completely
free. Then all your actions are in accord with your capital.
Then following from what you're saying , this person may decide to leave the
armaments factory? Acceptance doesn't prevent him from taking action?
The accent is on the accepting position itself, not on what is ac¬
cepted. Then there is identity with the situation, so your understand¬
ing is complete, impersonal, devoid of confusion and tension. In fact,
there is no longer a "you," only acceptance, what we could call
Is it true that when one lives silence , one is in constant bliss?
[Big smile] Yes.
You say that when a man takes himself fora man and a woman takes herself
for a woman there can be no unfolding. What is this unfolding?
When you take yourself for a man it is a concept. You have an idea of
what a man should be and you conform to it. The full unfolding of the
man is only possible when the mind is completely free of all represen¬
tation. Then when you are called upon to be a man spontaneously you
are a man but if you think of yourself as a man you live in restriction. It
is a fraction. You have reduced yourself to the male. All representation
is a reduction. One should take oneself for nothing. When you take
yourself for something you feel in constant insecurity because you are
isolated from the whole. The person is always searching for a security
it can never find. In living in becoming you are like a pendulum swing¬
ing from past to future, from future to past. Moreover, what is the
future? It is nothing but the projected past, so you spend your whole
life living only in the past. See in the moment it occurs that you take
yourself for an image. Seeing it brings a revolution, a stopping of all
energy dispersed in patterns and projections. In the space in the stop
you feel what you fundamentally are. What you are can never be
represented. It cannot be thought. You can only be it. Then there is
real love. When there is nobody there is love. The somebody which
then appears in this emptiness is not a fixed personality. It is flexible. It
appears when called for and disappears the moment the situation is
Biologically speaking there is a man and a woman but this biology
appears in consciousness. All existence is in consciousness. The tem¬
porary personality which appears in this wholeness is full of life. It is a
genuinely intelligent personality because it draws on its full capacities
without anticipation and limitation. So see that it is pure nonsense to
take yourself for somebody...especially for a male, (laughter)
Recently it struck me how often you use the word "center" and I notice that
it's really true that everything is projected , fixed by and referred to a center. 1
notice too how much fear there is in me to let go completely of this reflex of
centering. I keep thinking of a story I heard about a guru whose disciples were
constantly pestering him: "Enlighten me! Give me peace! I want happiness!
Etc ." So finally he said, "Fine. I'll give you a minute and anyone who wants to
can come up." No one moved. Wien I first heard the story my mind said ,
"What idiots! Here is a golden opportunity!" Yet later when one time I felt
what I call "myself' dissolving and a feeling of global awareness taking over , I
suddenly became very afraid and shrank away from what was happening. This
is the fundamental fear and my question is: How can I face it?
This fear is the original perception. It is the fear of the "me", the "I",
disappearing, the fear of no longer having a hold. It is the fear of "go¬
ing out of your mind". But you should allow this fear to be felt. In let¬
ting it be felt you automatically objectify it and feel yourself as its con-
templator. You are the perceiver of the fear, a perceiver which is free
from all expectation, all interfering. If you face the fear in this way you
will feel a tremendous release of energy in you. At first you'll be con¬
scious of fear after the fact. Then you will be aware of it during the
state. And finally you will feel it when it is still only a pulsation before
it is completely concretized. You can be sure in this way you will
become free even of this reflex.
Recently I have felt a great deal of anxiety coming up after years of relative
peace of mind. There seem to be two ways suggested to deal with it—your way
which is to observe it , and the other way which is to go right into it. Neither
seems right to me.
Observation does not mean creating a psychological gap between
you and your fear. You are undoubtedly fixing the perception when
you observe. Your looking may still be conditioned because you may
still be trying to find something. Observation must be completely
empty. Learning how to face a perception means standing back and
letting it come to you. It is not a passive, fastalistic surrender to the
perception but an alert welcoming just as you step aside and hold the
door open to let a welcome guest walk into your home. So step aside
without turning away.
When you feel tension or fear see where it is localized in your body.
Do not face this area directly but face those parts which are healthy,
which are not furnished with fear. The healthy parts feel light, empty
and expanded, so let this empty sensation invade the parts where fear
is localized. If you proceed like this the fixed energy, which is all fear
is, will intergrate in your totality. When you have decentralized this
fixed energy you will be full of vitality.
The first step is to be aware of the localization. Once you are clearly
aware of it you will already feel yourself somewhat at a distance from
it. You will no longer be glued to the fear-state but will feel the
observer and observed articulated. When this dualism is in turn objec¬
tified you find yourself in perceiving without a perceiver. Cease to be
an accomplice with fear and it vanishes in your totality.
Is the personality basically nothing other than fear?
The driving force to take yourself for an individual entity is fear. The
mind must really see that. When I say the mind must see it I don't
mean you must understand in an abstract way and nod in agreement.
Understanding that remains intellectual can never bring transforma¬
tion. Really live it in the moment itself. Real seeing stops you in the
middle of whatever you are doing--without concern for whether you
are allowed to stop. Catch the reaction or reflex as it actually happens.
To really see something then I must not name it but let it remain as percep¬
tion. Is this right?
When you name fear it becomes a concept. A concept and percept
cannot exist together, so sustain only the perception. Let the fear come
up completely. When you let this happen and listen to it, watch it, you
will feel it taking place in your observation. It is in you but you are no
longer in it. There is no more unconscious identification. You are out¬
side the process. Seeing clearly how you function calls for living very
intimately with yourself. Let perceptions come to their complete ar¬
ticulation without the slightest idea to escape, manipulate or dominate
what appears. This means you must be free from all judgement, all ap¬
praisal. This may take time in the beginning.
I find that I keep sensation at a distance by thinking about it.
Yes. The "me" constantly appropriates the perception for its sur¬
vival. Be the listener, the perceiver, and you'll spontaneously find
yourself in a space-relation with the object. It unfolds in this space.
This is the fore-feeling of your true nature which is autonomous, free
from all states.
I would say, become familiar with your mechanism. You know very
little about how you function. Learn to take your body as an instru¬
ment, a tool, a vehicle. Explore, inquire how you wake up in the morn¬
ing and, very importantly, how you go to sleep in the evening. At
night systematically let go of all qualifications. Live a moment of com¬
plete nakedness. Do this for some time and you will notice how you
wake up. When you have the profound perception of the nakedness of
the mind, you feel that the body appears in this emptiness. You have a
completely different relation with yourself. The body is in you but are
not in the body.
Once I have clearly seen the mechanism of one reflex , fear , for example , will
seeing be clear on all levels of my life?
The faculty of transposing understanding in other areas proves to
yourself that you have really understood. Otherwise understanding
remains superficial. In many circumstances in life the approach is ex¬
actly the same as the approach to fear. It is important that the mind
understands and that you then act according to the understanding.
There is no moral effort in this acting; it means simply seeing the prin¬
ciple in other circumstances. Daily life-living in our society—is the on¬
ly mirror that you can have. There is no other mirror. Anyone who acts
Hamlet in his kitchen can be a perfect Hamlet. The thing is to be
Hamlet on the stage, (laughter)
In order for understanding to take place in daily life must there not first be a
total giving up, so that when we get out of the kitchen and into the world this
understanding lives our lives?
Objective knowledge is possible because you refer to the already
known. But when we ask, "What really is my nature? How can I face
each moment in daily life in a way that I am convinced is appropriate?"
we cannot find the answer through the mind. Here, understanding
means being the understanding. The answer lies in living the ques¬
tion. In learning how to live the question you must accept certain
things at second-hand. Like all scientific procedure, this second-hand
information should give you all the elements to make it first-hand, to
make it your own. Understanding as being appears when non¬
understanding has completely vanished, when there is nothing left to
understand. That means real understanding is not in a subject-object
relationship. There is nobody who says he knows anything. There is
only knowing. It is a feeling of oneness.
When I say "live with the question" what question do I mean? It is
not any question that comes from reading books, what you have
heard, so-called common sense or any other question founded on
second-hand information. Questions that come from hearsay are to
satisfy the mind. There are plenty of opportunities in society to ask
these kinds of questions. Questions that interest me, that belong to
our meeting here, are those that come up in you from elsewhere than
the intellect. Listen to what appears, be open to the unknown, the
unexpected in you. When you ask mental questions you are asleep to
yourself. You cannot be in the mind, in concept, and in perception at
the same time. So remain open to the perception. Sustain a letting go
of anything to do with hearsay and you will find yourself living the
question. This openness itself brings you to the living answer.
Why does it seem so difficult to live with the question ? There is a strong urge
to want the answer now.
The person, out of habit, looks outside for an answer. Questions
come from taking yourself to be a separate individual. When you see
that there is no outside, that all is in you, you come to a stopping of
wanting second-hand information. Let the original question "Who am
I?" live in you, in the stopping, in your alertness, your global listening
which appears spontaneously when mental interference dies away.
Presumably you answer questions because the answer has some effect. How
should 1 listen to the answer so that it can be effective?
The answer comes out of silence, out of being, and brings the per¬
fume of silence with it. Therefore it is important that you don't im¬
mediately try to grasp the answer mentally. Don't make any effort to
understand it. Sustain the non-concluding. You can only interpret
through memory, the already known. Don't emphasize the formula¬
tion but let the stillness, the presence in which the formulation is
found, come to you. This presence is your real nature.
If Ido not try to understand what you say it seems to go in one ear and out of
the other. That is why I have heard you say the same thing over and over again
and there has not been any real transformation in me.
Listening is not a passive acceptance. It is active, alert. Listening
must be bipolar. You hear the formulation and you hear also how it
acts in you, how you react to it. Listen to your agitation, boredom, the
repetition, the way you interpret, judge, analyze, criticize. Listen to
your restlessness, your curiosity, you anxiety, fear, frustration. Listen
to your emotivity, your feelings, states, desires, wants, likes and
dislikes. There are so many things to listen to. Become acquainted
with your functioning. In listening you will feel how all these take
place in you. Listening brings you to a distance from all that you have
accepted second-hand as your real nature. In this space relation, this
listening, you will have the fore-feeling of what you really are.
What kind of formulation do questions have that do not come from mental
The question may come to you several times, dressed in a different
way each time. There comes a day when it is not dressed at all. That is
really being understanding. What we are fundamentally can never be
objectified. It is emptiness of all representation. What is empty of all
representation is fullness.
Don't try to change any activities in your life. When you try to
change something you remain in old cliches. See only that all your ac¬
tivities refer to a center, to a "me" who compares, concludes, ap¬
praises. Simply see the mechanism. See how you are not related to
your activities but to your likes and dislikes. See this in the moment
itself and postpone all conclusion, postpone all action. When you
postpone concluding the situation new elements appear in the space
you allow it. It may appear completely differently. When you see how
all situations are related to a center of opinions you will see also that
this is a relation between one "seen" and another, an object seen and a
so-called subject seen. This subject is also an object.
What is this "you" who sees the subject?
Unless one speaks poetry the language does not easily allow for
speaking which is not in the subject-object frame. Really there is only
consciousness in which the so-called subject and object appear. There
is no agent who knows consciousness. It is autonomous. Though it is
sometimes called the ultimate subject there is nothing subjective in it.
It is simply being, global awareness.
When you say to postpone a decision , do you mean not to identify with the
feeling that anything has to be done?
In this giving up you feel effectively open. In seeing the situation from
your openness it becomes much richer. Spontaneously openness is
emphasized rather than the situation itself. We could say you switch
identification from the object to the subject aspect.
Every situation has a solution. It is only the person, the mind, which
finds no solution. It finds no solution which suits it. A fraction can
never find a solution. The solution appears in your totality. It does not
come from the discriminating mind, through analysis. Magically it ap¬
pears out of intelligence which arises when you are open to all
possibilities. Then you really act appropriately. You are not
psychologically involved in the situation and all your capacities are
freed to function. When you are not a doer you are a most efficient
channel for doing, a channel for functioning. There is no actor, doer,
thinker. There is only acting, doing, thinking. In this openness you
find peace and joy in living. There is real relationship. There is love.
So postponing has nothing to do with putting it off until Friday or next
When you live free from the identity you think you are, there is
space in you. There is no longer any going to the past and from there
projecting a future. When you are open, at a certain point all the
elements of a situation appear simultaneously in you. The situation
concludes in you and brings its own action to be realized in space and
time. This realization is completely free from authorship. You don't
need a strategy. You know that tomorrow you have to go to Los
Angeles because that is a fact, it is an element of the situation. But how
you go, by train, car or bus, belongs to the moment. You remain com¬
pletely open. You meet the situation empty-minded. Often in
moments of empty-mindedness the reflex of the person appears
because the ego feels insecure. You must experience for yourself that
in this emptiness you are completely adequate to every situation. Find
out for yourself how the person only gets in the way of efficient func¬
tioning. Of course there must be workmanship. Being open to all the
facts of a situation means knowing the instruments, your capacities,
the law with which you have to deal. But for the rest, it is completely in
the field of the unknown.
When you postpone a conclusion there is automatically a giving up.
in your observation. This is pure perception, the disappearance of
observer and observed. See that when you emphasize the observed
you fix it. The moment observation is welcoming, the observed
^ vanishes in the faculty of observing. It is a kind of oneness feeling.
When we once have the feeling of the subtlety of the body does it remain or go
How can we find ourselves in the expansion you talk about? I feel locked into
Let this body be an object of observation. Let it become feeling. At
first you'll feel only the superficial surface of the body but as you sus¬
tain the observation you'll become aware of different layers of sensa¬
tion. Become accustomed in your observation to let the observed come
to you, you do not go to it. This means you are completely receptive.
In the beginning the body will appear to you in fractions but when the
looking is sustained there comes a moment when there is a fusion of
all the parts and you come to a global feeling of the body. You feel the
object-body become more and more subtle and expanded beyond the
frontiers of the physical body. In this process there is no naming.
When there is no conceptualization at a certain point observer and
observed disappear and there is only pure perception, direct percep¬
Be aware how you exclude your head from body-sensation. The
head belongs to the body but it is as if you work from the head. Don't
make the head the center of observation. If you do the observer re¬
mains fixed on the observed like a donkey in a stall. When there is fu¬
sion of the observer and the feeling body, you are no longer fixed in
front of you but are brought in a way behind you. The perception is
then completely homogenous. Every part of the body is transparent.
Where is the mind when you are in the feeling?
The mind is a function. Observation is the natural function of the
brain when there is no intention in looking. Intention limits observa¬
tion, it gives it a direction. But pure observation is multidimensional.
So leave aside all intention to manipulate, direct or escape body sensa¬
tion. When you see simply the facts there is already a great release of
tension. In complete giving up of all interference, the body appears in
its vacant state. Then you feel as if the perception of the body is in you.
When you have once or a few times explored the body and found it
to be a palette of subtle sensitivity, some organic memory of it re¬
mains. You will then become aware that when you work or walk or do
anything at all you expend far too much energy. The organic memory,
the echo, of the body in its natural light state will remind you that
generally you use your body in a conditioned way. Once you see the
patterns you can free yourself from them and the global body feeling
will become more permanent. This brings you to a real economy of do¬
ing. It is a new way of living. This transformation occurs when the
body is allowed to find its organic state free from mental and
mechanical interference. Transformation happens because you re¬
main in choiceless observation.
What part does the breathing play?
When you become more sensitive to the body you have the impres¬
sion that inhalation-exhalation is no longer localized. It is all around
you. It is important to see how we live mainly in our heads. Think with
your whole body, feel with the whole body. In the whole feeling, the
global sensation, you go into your room and touch your whole room.
You go outside and touch the clouds, the trees, the water. You do not
live in isolation. In your radiation you are in communion with all
things. In this expansion there's no place for the ego because the ego is
a contraction. Love is expansion, a feeling of spaciousness. The feeling
of expansion in space is very important. When you see beautiful ar¬
chitecture you go in the space, touch it, go all around it. Or when you
go into a house what makes you say you like it or don't like it? It is the
feeling of space. It may not be appropriate to you the moment you
walk in the door, or you may spontaneously go in and touch the walls,
the ceiling, and feel yourself in expansion.
Don't remain in verbal understanding. Have the real feeling of what
I say. All this is not something to be discussed only. You must come to
the living experience of it.
Listening to you just now I feel some doubts about my practice ofkriya yoga
in the past few years. In kriya yoga you move the vital energy in the subtle
body from chakra to chakra and you are not supposed to follow it or watch it but
imagine moving it as you breathe from one energy center to another. What do
you think about this?
The rising of energy, the meeting of shakti and shakta, the dissolv¬
ing of shakti in shakta is the result of discernment. It is the result of
understanding. There are several techniques to bring energy upwards
but to me these are completely artificial. When there is real understan¬
ding there is a natural integration of the energy in the ultimate. If the
release of energy does not happen spontaneously but is made the ob¬
ject of one's intention it not only keeps you in the becoming process,
the subject-object dichotomy, it can also cause an imbalance of the
body-mind. The level of energy must correspond to the whole
behaviour in daily life. If must be harmoniously integrated into your
completeness, otherwise you may behave in certain ways which don't
belong to the level of energy. It happens often in mad people. Freeing
of energy comes out of understanding, out of your whole intelligence,
So artificially raising energy can actually cause damage and you don't sug¬
gest activating it at all?
In real understanding energy becomes global, not fixed. The techni¬
que of kriya is a process through steps. In my teaching one points
directly to consciouness, the natural state, becomes established in it
and then moves down, so to speak, to the transforming of the relative
nature. There are no steps to come to awareness. There are no steps in
reality. When you proceed by steps you may say to yourself, "I have
made progress." What do you mean by progress? The mind can never
understand what is beyond it. So why act on the mind or body? In this
action you emphasize the object of perception. You may perceive
many subtleties but these are still part of the subject-object relation¬
ship. In so-called progressing you may eventually come to a crisis
point, the most subtle of all objects, the blank state. The blank state is
the absence of objects but it itself is still an object of perception. When
you have trained your body-mind through the subject-object way of
progression it is virtually impossible to be able to know yourself
without objects. The blank state is as far as you can go.
Therefore don't emphasize the object, any object. All states, feelings
and sensations are objects which keep you bound, no matter how sub¬
tle and pleasant they are. They are delectation for the "me", sweets for
the ego, that's all. The body is there, the mind is there, but when you
are the perceiver they unfold and point directly to your reality, their
There are said to be sounds which can activate the energy. Would this prac¬
tice also lead to the same problem?
We can say that our whole structure is built out of sounds. Every
organ in our body has its sound. So in pronouncing or hearing sounds
different organs are automatically affected, are stimulated. When you
speak of illness it is only that the organ has lost its real sound. So
through sounds you can bring it to life. When there is no disturbance
and only simple functioning you have a fore-feeling of your real
So is there a value in mantras in coming to the non-dual state?
Yes, but few know how to pronounce a sound correctly and without
the correct pronounciation the sound cannot be effective. In any case,
it is only to come to the quietness of your phenomenal being. It can
never bring you to your non-dual presence. You remain bound in
subject-object relationship. The quietness is still an object. Such prac¬
tice belongs only to the progressive way and brings you nearer to the
There are moments of quiet when there is nothing to do, nothing to
fear, nothing to escape. Become more attuned to these moments,
beyond energy and function. Do not emphasize the energy, the ob¬
ject, body, senses and mind. These are perceived. So the question
arises: Who is the perceiver? And since you can never perceive the
perceiver the mind comes to a stop. To live what you are you must
know clearly what you are not. You can never know what you are
because you are it, just as the eye can never see itself.
Why am I here? Why am I born ? Why will I die? Why is there love, and why
is there hate?
Free yourself from the why. When you are free of the why you'll
have the living answer. In the space before, during and after the ques¬
tion is the answer. You look for the motive only in action—outside
yourself. But when you look deeply, the motive for asking is to be in
completeness related to all living beings. You will only find this
underlying motive when you get rid of the why, the where and the
You talk about dying. But you can only speak of dying because you
take for granted that you are born. What gives you the right to say you
are born? Do you so easily accept second-hand information?
Of course 1 am bom. I'm here, aren't I? I know Africa exists though 1 have
never been there.
Your physical appearance is the accidental result of two people and
these two people are the accidental result of two other people. The
birth with which you identify is completely accidental. The real birth is
when you are free from the image which thinks it is born.
When I am angry 1 feel very vital. I feel good in this vitality. How can 1 deal
with anger when I feel this way?
Anger is a reaction which destroys all beauty in you. See the
mechanism, otherwise you remain in a chain of reactions where there
is no exit. Then you are like a fly who bangs against the window a
thousand times. Before you can look at the mechanism you must ac¬
cept that there is something to look at, psychological resistance. Con¬
template it. Even love it. It is compressed energy. When you look at it,
objectify it, you are no longer an accomplice with the reaction. So ac¬
cept your anger, welcome it. This is not a psychological acceptance
which is the person making a kind of sacrifice. It is a functional accep¬
tance, an openness to the facts. In this acceptance there comes a
distancing between observer and observed. In this position you
already feel the breath of your real nature. And the fixed energy
dissolves in you. So be aware not only of your surroundings but
especially of your nearest surroundings, body, senses and mind. Of
course reaction belongs to being human but come out of being bound
to reactions, to biology and psychology. In your language you say you
must come out of the teufelskreis- the circle of the devil.
What is the best way to break habits?
First see that you act habitually. This seeing is not an intellectual tak¬
ing note. It is a clear perception that the mechanism of habit comes
from memory. For example, see that all situations which come to you
are immediately apprehended by a subject which interprets, judges,
compares, etc. You take this subject as yourself. This subject is itself
only a habit, a way of thinking. When this first habit is seen you are
outside the field of all habits. You see life no longer from a point of
view but from your totality. Any other superficial means to try to
break habits only reinforces the original habit.
When you project habits you are not open to life. Life presents itself
in constant variation in you. When you see that life never repeats you
will automatically leave the projection of patterns of security, which is
all habits are. You will be open to all life offers. When life refers direct¬
ly to your emptiness of all representation, to your wholeness, there is
right understanding of every situation.
Does not a certain amount of habit belong to our biological survival, for ex¬
ample, eating, sleeping and exercising at certain times?
Feeling the rhythm of our body vehicle is not the same as habit. The
organism looks to feel itself in a rhythm harmonious with the
universe. Biological survival belongs to the rhythm of the universe.
Habit belongs to psychological survival.
Isn't the personality also a part of biological survival?
You bring with you into the world certain characteristics that belong
to your biological survival in this existence. But what we call the per¬
sonality is acquired early in life. It is an accumulation of experiences
and information born from your interaction with society. We are the
result of our surroundings. We have believed what we have been told,
crystallized it and identified with it. But the apparent continuity of the
personality is only memory reinforced by society. See that the per¬
sonality can be perceived like anything else. The perceiver is your
wholeness, consciousness. The personality is only a fraction of what
we really are. A fraction can only see a fraction. It can never be har¬
monious. All acting which comes out of the fractional point of view is
reaction. The moment you see this mechanism, the moment you are
the seer of the personality, you are out of the process. Forget all you
have read or heard about wholeness. It is all mystification. Have no
representations. Be scientific. Simply see how life functions. When
you are out of the process you are open to your completeness. This is
not an experience because there is no one who experiences and
therefore nothing objectified into an experience. It is non-experience,
a non-state, because it is free from all subject-object relationship. It is
simply being present. When the "I" is relinquished you are taken by
this presence. It is not a process of will. It is grace.
How does the personality function in wholeness?
It is no longer stiff but adapts to the moment. Once the situation is
over your personality dissolves again in non-representation, its home-
ground. The personality functions but it is no longer personal.
If the continuous personality is an idea is it localized in the mind?
Yes. But mind and body cannot be separated. The personality is also
expressed in the body. In a certain way it is kept in the prison of the
body-mind. But the mind can never free itself from itself because the
attempt to free the mind belongs to the mind. It is a vicious circle.
When you accept the personality, the contents of mind and body, they
no longer have any hold. You feel yourself spontaneously free. But
never try to free yourself. Don't change your opinions or take up a new
way of living. Simply welcome all that appears and you will feel free in
this welcoming. But first see that you do not welcome.
Must the mind come to stillness , to quietness , first in order to see its con¬
The mind is an object of perception. It does not need to be still to be
perceived. First see that there is agitation in the body-mind. Don't get
involved in controlling, escaping or changing this situation. Just listen
to it. You will discover then that you can't listen, that the reflex to
discipline, dominate, manipulate is very strong. I repeat that it is a
waste of energy to try to still the mind. The nature of the mind is
movement. But you are not in the movement. It is in you. When the
body-mind functions in you, in your wholeness, it will come spon¬
taneously to its inherent rhythm without agitation. Then it is a perfect
Presumably then energy is orchestrated differently?
Absolutely. Nothing is wasted. Actions are perfectly efficient.
When the psycho-physiological structure comes to quietness and a reor¬
chestration of energy takes place , are there noticeable biological changes?
Certainly. There is no more fractional functioning. In total in¬
telligence all the senses are engaged. In relaxation all our structure is
receiving. This is contrary to the so-called normal state where all the
senses are in a grasping position. When you live in your completeness
your whole body is a hand open to all that appears in life.
Doesn't this make living very passive? Often , enlightened beings find the
world too harsh and live quietly on the fringes of society.
When all anticipation, ambition, manipulation, achieving are gone
one may appear passive from the point of view of these things. But
surrender is not passive in a fatalistic way. It is only passive in that the
fractional person, the will, doesn't interfere. It is active in the sense
that it is alert, welcoming all the facts of life. The one who lives in
receiving never sleeps.
It is a misunderstanding to think that a sage leaves society. Many
things in society are no longer appropriate to the wise one, it is true.
But it depends on the residues of one's existenc e—prarabdha karma-
how one continues one's living. In any situation the sage is in society
but not of it.
It seems much more difficult to observe the mind than , say , a vase of flowers.
Observation is not outer nor inner. Your real nature has no outer or
inner. Become aware in communication with your surroundings that
what you take to be two fields, outer objects and inner thoughts and
feelings, are only one field from the point of view of the perceiver,
your wholeness. Let anxiety, nervousness, aggression appear in your
observation like clouds passing across the sky.
When your observation also includes your psycho-physiological
field you will become familiar with how you are in a chain of reactions.
You will see that whereas you thought you knew a situation, you now
see you only knew your reaction and that so-called action sprang out
of reaction. Actions which are reactions create memory in you.
What do you mean by that last statement?
Because reaction is non-accomplished action. The residue of this
non-accomplishment remains in you as memory. Spontaneous action
is not related to memory and leaves no residue.
But memory is necessary in many circumstances in life. We need to know
this is a table without looking first at the four legs and underneath it as a child
looks. We need to know a tiger by his tail!
This is functional memory, conceptualization. On the level of
biological survival conceptualization is a tool. But we live too much in
concept and not enough in percept. Conceptualization has become a
dominant habit. There is a kind of laziness of the senses. When you
live in your completeness the whole body wakes up and participates.
When you smell a rose it is completely new. It is not reduced to the
physical organ but belongs to your global feeling. When you touch a
cat it is a first touch. No memory comes into play. Each perception is
new-born because consciousness and its object are one in touching, in
smelling or hearing. When you live in concept the sensitivity of all the
organs atrophies. When you live in completeness conceptualization
has a much smaller role.
I am happy to meet you. It is only in the absence of the I and the you
that there is meeting. Let me explain. Meeting, togetherness, is love.
The "I" and the "you" are superimpositions, concepts. They are iden¬
tifications with body and mind. When you understand that you are
not body, senses and mind, a doer, a thinker, you will be open to a
new dimension ofliving, a world not furnished with objects and con¬
cepts. In relation from object to object, from personality to personality,
there is no love, no understanding. There is only wanting, asking.
Togetherness free from all representation of an "I" and a "you" is
Why are we always asking for something?
When you take yourself for a personal entity, you live in restriction.
In this restriction there is insecurity. So in this insecurity you feel the
need to constantly demand, search. In our society there is only asking.
Even apparent giving is asking.
What is true giving?
When there is no one who gives there is real giving. Our nature is
giving, sharing. Real giving comes from a deep thankfulness to be
alive to be.
How can I empty myself of the sense of "I"?
Body, senses and mind are tools, vehicles, instruments. There may
be moments in daily life when there is no function but this absence of
functioning has nothing to do with tranquility. Function and non¬
function alike appear in tranquility. Tranquility is the ground of ex¬
istence, all perception. Very often what we call meditation is only the
non-activity of the senses. Many people make a great effort to bring
these tools to rest through various techniques. These methods of con¬
centration are completely artificial procedures. The rest thus achieved
is localized. Real tranquility is multidimensional. It is diametrically op¬
posed to any concentrum. It has no direction. It is openness, receiv¬
ing. Tranquility comes naturally. All concentrated effort is a violation.
A concentrated mind is never free. It is stiff with no subtlety.
See that in all effort to bring to a stop organs which by nature are
meant to function, there will be fixation on the object. The natural
state of the mind is movement so why impede its natural functioning?
In real meditation there is no achieving, no controlling, because there
is no one who meditates. When you let go of the doer tranquility im¬
mediately appears. Your existence in space and time appears within
this tranquility. All existence is in tranquility but tranquility is not in
How can I break the conditioning of the mind which is based on past ex¬
periences? How can I be only in the present?
As long as there is a reflex to take yourself as a center, a person, you
live in the mind. The person is only memory. Memory maintains the
idea of being a person. But when you don't think about anything,
where are "you?" The person looks for security in repetition and pat¬
terns. Memory completes all your experiences in life. These flowers
are new at every moment but you make them the same. In reality
every situation is entirely new. There may be analogy between yester¬
day and today but there is no repetition. When you really understand
this you will stop using old patterns to reconstruct your situations.
Memory prevents you from seeing the bare facts. What you take for
facts, for a real experience, are only reactions based on memory. Until
the center of reference, the ''me" is completely absent you can never
face facts. In multidimensional perception the situation unfolds and
unexpected things come up. It is much more interesting! Without the
psychological center you are receptive to the situation, present to it.
So believe me when I say that every moment is new. This will leave
you open to the possibility of living without projecting patterns. When
there is no longer a struggle for psychological survival, psychological
memory which swings between a projected past and future, disap¬
pears. Functional memory remains, of course.
Intellectually I understand you but when I look at this table it's the same old
table . I can't pretend it appears new to me!
Even when you see the rising sun you make it a concept. It is a new
sun but you don't see it. You are not really aware of the pleasure that
comes up in you in admiring. Everything is new, every day at work, or
when you make your bed or polish your shoes.
When you are free of wasting energy in psychological reactions of
like and dislike, criticism, comparison, anger, depression, etc., when
there is no longer any psychological involvement, you will be awake
to the moment, receptive to all that comes to you. Then you will come
to an economy in your doing. Effort and expenditure of energy will be
greatly reduced. You simply function, doing things that have to be
done. You don't take yourself for a doer. You are simply present and
then there is joy in the doing, in all your living. It is play, not a chore.
You can see your body wake up in the morning like the rising sun. It
wakes up in your awareness. Feel the exact moment when you step
back into identification with the old body. What you call your body is
not your real body at all. It is fixation in your brain. So see how you
take yourself for what you are not, how you reduce yourself to a pat¬
tern. As soon as you see it clearly there is some distancing from it and
you are out of the process of gluing yourself to an idea. In this
distance-feeling, this being out of the process, there is the fore-feeling
of your autonomy, your freedom, beingness.
It is true that you may understand intellectually at first. But when
the mind understands, you are open to a new dimension of living. It is
an exploration, a discovery. So don't adopt any new religion or
philosophy. All the peace, love and joy you are looking for is in you.
Come to know your nearest surroundings. Don't look for it elsewhere.
You can never grasp it because you are it. Discover it for yourself. I am
here only to point the way. For the moment you have to take it for
granted, accept is as second-hand information. But never be content
with second-hand information. I am not asking for blind faith. You
must make it first-hand. It is like a scientist who adopts a formula,
then proceeds to prove it for himself.
Could you clarify a little more, "I am not a doer, only a function"?
When you look deeply during doing, you'll see there is no room for
an actor. There's only acting. It is only afterwards that the mind says "I
am doing it." Consciousness and its object are one. There cannot be
doing and a feeling of being the doer at the same time. It may appear
so but there is a very rapid movement from doing to doer. When you
identify with the doer you will become tired. The fatigue is
psychological. We all have had moments when we feel very tired but
the moment something new or astonishing comes up that takes us
away from ourselves, we are full of energy.
Is desire completely absent in tranquility?
When we live in tranquility, the background of all appearances,
desire is, I would say, fulfilled, accomplished. As long as you are not
established in this background desire comes up. But when you exam¬
ine desires there is only one desire: the desire to be desireless — call it
love, joy, peace, freedom. It is a lack of discrimination not to see this.
All superficial desires are dispersion and compensation, substitutes
for the ultimate desire.
I notice in myself a certain laziness so that I have a difficult time sustaining
attention and seeing the facts of a situation even when I'm aware that I project
See in the moment itself that you don't give time to the facts, that
they race you to a solution. The person is impatient because it cannot
exist without finding itself somewhere. It lives in insecurity and looks
for a hold in repeated situations. When there is nothing to grasp the
personality is agitated and anxious about its survival. So in the beginn¬
ing it takes time to see the facts. Sustain your observation. Let the for¬
mulation come up in you without the mind interfering. Don't squeeze
the situation like a lemon to extract its juice. Let the solution come. It
will come. Every situation has its own solution, you can be sure. The
solution never comes from outside the situation.
So is the sustaining a question of time?
It is true. But when you become accustomed to it the conclusion ap¬
pears very quickly. It is a conclusion from your whole being, not from
the like-dislike, pain-pleasure structure. At first be lazy. Don't hurry.
Hold off the reflex to conclude. Give the facts complete freedom to br¬
ing their own conclusion to you. Sustain the feeling of the situation
unfolding within you.
Then the quality of this sustaining, the listening , improves over time?
Surely, surely. It takes a long time to come to unfurnished attention,
an attention which is completely open without expectation and
memory. The mind is a complicated jig-saw puzzle. There are many
little pieces with which you build up your landscape. When you see
how the mind functions in repetition you will lose interest in building
the picture yet again!
Every situation has its own puzzle which is much more entrancing
than the same old one you live in. Observe. Be alert, and you will see
more than you know.
Is the personality part of my mental puzzle?
Yes. You have strangled the personality. It is a frozen picture. Let it
thaw out. The real personality is fluid, subtle and comes up to meet
each situation in a new way appropriate to the moment. The true per¬
sonality springs out of tranquility when needed, and dissolves back
into it when no longer needed.
This tranquility is consciousness, your wholenes. What arises and
dies in consciousness is nothing other than consciousness. Con¬
sciousness is the only continuum.
How can I come to greater alertness?
It is a question of being interested when you look at and listen to
things. When you begin looking and listening you'll start discovering
and you will enjoy the discoveries. You will see that every situation,
every moment in life, is a fathomless sack. But you make it a sack with
a bottom and put things in it. The moment you see that each situation
is bottomless, much richer, much more alive than anything you have
accumulated in your memory, then you spontaneously become more
interested in life.
Begin with your surroundings, your lover if you have one, your hus¬
band, your child. Try to see them in a new way. But be careful not to
take an attitude. I don't mean superimpose new qualities on your sur¬
roundings but approach them with your wholeness. The moment you
free yourself from images of your surroundings you become really
social. What people call socialism is not really socialism. Real socialism
is looking at life free from memory, free from patterns. Otherwise you
keep the people around you in prison. In seeing and acting free from
memory you give your surroundings the freedom to be free.
Ramana Maharshi used to say, "As thoughts arise question to whom the
thoughts arise ." The answer is of course "me, l " So then you ask, "Who is this
"I?" How does this relate to what you are saying?
It is exactly the same. All perceptions belong to you because you are.
There is no perception without you. The world is because you are.
Otherwise there is no world for you. So all objects, all that is perceiv¬
ed, all existence belongs to you. But the mind must come to know this,
otherwise it will never give up. The "I" is not a conceptual "I". It is
what I call tranquility or stillness or consciousness. It is being I.
How can I become familiar with this "I" behind all perception? Does it in¬
volve a loss of body-consciousness?
At first you may have moments when you are completely one with
your totality and then you will see that this tranquility is between two
activities, two perceptions, two concepts. You say, "I see this chair
now. Before I recognized it and called it a chair, there was only see¬
ing." Once the chair has gone you are again back to seeing without
seeing anything. So you are seeing before and after the perception.
These moments are fleeting. But there comes a time when you are also
seeing during the seeing. Do you understand?
Do you mean that consciousness continues whether or not the object arises?
Yes. Consciousness is a continuum. Waking, dreaming and
dreamless deep sleep are superimposed on this continuum. In the
waking and dreaming states the object is present but in the deep sleep
state there are no objects. Because you only know yourself in objects,
in subject-object relation, you call the objectless state an absence. But
consciousness is always present, "behind" the sleeper, dreamer, and
the one who is awake. Consciousness always is.
I repeat certains things very often. And I say again that the mind
must be informed. It must come to intellectual clarity in order to be
open to a new possibility. It is as if you know only six directions and
someone suddenly says to you, "There is a seventh direction." When
the mind knows it even if you don't yet know it for yourself, you are
already open to the new direction. Don't doubt it. The "seventh direc¬
tion" is your heart.
Thank you for coming.